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BOOK 398.2 1.H245A c 1 


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"Once he found a water-lily with a leaf so broad 
that it made a petticoat for his wife" 










With numerous illustrations 




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Through the courtesy of the librarian of the 
Smithsonian Institute, the author has had access 
to government reports of Indian life. Upon these 
and the folk-lore contained in the standard works 
of Schoolcraft, Copway, and Catlin these stories 
are founded. 



The Story-Teller Himself . . . . 1 
Snowbird and the Water-Tigeb ... 3 
The Coyote or Prairie Wolf . , . .15 
How Mad Buffalo Fought the Thunder-Bird 27 

The Red Swan 37 

The Bended Rocks 55 

White Hawk, the Lazy • • • • . 63 

The Magic Feather 76 

The Star Maiden ..•••.. 93 

The Fighting Hare 101 

The Great Head 113 

The Adventures of Living Statue . . . 123 
Turtle-Dove, Sage-Cock, and the Witch , 133 

The Island of Skeletons 141 

Stone-Shirt and the One-Two . . • , 155 

The Great Wizard 167 

White Cloud's Visit to the Sun -Prince , . 185 









"Once he found a water-lily with a leaf so broad 
that it made a petticoat for his wife," Frontispiece. 

'* Then, all of a sudden it changed to a woman," 10 

" Pounced upon him, and lifted him into the air," 31 

'• He flew swiftly toward the magician's lodge," 53 

" Lo ! Clouds of blue and white pigeons rushed from 
the smoke," 91 

" He went to the top of the cliff and saw the sun just 
rising," Ill 

" Near the white, misty road of the dead," . 132 

"Whispered to the Swans, ' Come, let us go home,' " 148 

" Instead of one handsome young warrior, there were 
two," 161 

"It formed a small lake," .... 172 

" White Cloud and his friend at last gave a great 
leap," 197 






i V 








AGOG, the story-teller of 
the Indians, is a little, 
old man with a face as 
black as the shell of the 
butternut and a body 
like a twisted stick. His 
eyes are twice as large 
as other men's, so that 
when a bird flies past him he sees twice 
as many feathers on it, and all the little 
colors underneath are bright to him. His 
ears are twice as large as other men's, so 
that what seems to them but a tiny sound 
is to him like the roll of thunder. His legs 
are supple and his arms are strong, so that 
he can run faster and further, and can 
lift and carry twice as much as others. 

No one believes him, yet every one is 
eager to listen to him. He tells of things 
of which no one else ever saw the like ; 
but the stories are pleasant to hear, and 
lagoo says they are true. When the rivers 
and lakes are frozen so that the Indian can- 
not fish, and the snow has drifted many 
feet in thickness so that he cannot hunt, 
then he goes into his wigwam, cowers 
under his heaviest bear-skin wrapper or 


fl /: V 


2 Ameeican Indian Tales 

crouches by the fire, and longs for lagoo 
to appear. When the Storm -fool dances 
about the wigwam and throws the snow- 
llakes, hard and dry as sand, in at the door- 
way, then lagoo is most likely to visit him. 

He vanishes for many moons and comes 
back with new and wonderful tales. He 
has met bears with eyes of fire and claws 
of steel, mosquitoes whose wings were 
large enough for a sail for his canoe and 
serpents with manes like horses. 

Once he found a water-lily with a leaf so 
broad that it made a petticoat for his wife. 
At another time he saw a bush so large that 
it took him half a day to walk round it. 

As he sat in his doorway one summer 
evening he shot an arrow without taking di- 
rect aim . It killed a swan and twenty brace 
of ducks that were swimming on the river, 
then passed on and mortally wounded two 
loons on the bank, bounded back and, as it 
touched the water, killed an enormous fish. 

He remembers when the oldest oak was 
an acorn. He says that he will be alive 
long after the white man has disappeared 
from the land. 

These are his tales written down for the 
little Pale-faces. They are of the fairies, 
the giants, the dwarfs, the witches and 
the magicians of our own land, America. 










NOWBIRD was the 
niuch-loved wife of 
Brown Bear, the brave 
hunter whose home was 
on the shore of the 
Great Lake. He kept 
the wigwam well sup- 
plied with food; and 
Snowbird's moccasins were the finest in 
the tribe, save only those of the Chief's 
daughters. Even those owed much of their 
beauty to the lovely feathers that Snow- 
bird had given them. If you had. asked 
her where she got them she would have 
answered proudly, * ' My husband brought 
them from the chase." 

Besides Brown Bear and his wife, there 
lived in the wigwam their own, dear, little 
papoose whom they called ^ ' Pigeon, ' ' be- 
cause he was always saying, *' Goo, goo;" 
but they hoped that he would win a nobler 
name some day, when he should fight the 
enemy, or kill some beast that was a ter- 
ror to the tribe, and so take its name for 
his own. 


6 American Indian Tales 

These three would have been a very 
happy family ; nor would the little orphan 
boy whom they had adopted long before 
Pigeon was born, have made them any 
trouble; he was a great help to them. 
But there was still another inmate, Brown 
Bear's mother, a wicked, old squaw, whom 
none of the other sons' wives would have 
in their wigwams. Brown Bear was her 
youngest son, and had always been her 
favorite. She was kind to him when she 
was not to any one else ; and he loved her 
and took good care of her, just as much 
after he brought Snowbird home to be his 
wife, as he had done before. But the 
old woman was jealous ; and when Brown 
Bear brought in dainty bits, such as the 
moose's lip and the bear's kidney, and 
gave them to his wife, she hated her and 
grumbled and mumbled to herself in the 
^ corner by the fire. 

Day after day she sat thinking how she 
could get rid of the ' ' intruder, ' ' as she 
called her daughter-in-law. She forgot 
how she had married the only son of a 
brave Chief and had gone to be the mis- 
tress of his wigwam ; and he had been as 
kind and good to her as her son was to 

One day when the work was all done, 

Snowbird and the Watek-Tiger 7 

the old woman asked her daughter-in-law 
to go out to see a swing she had found 
near the Great Lake. It was a twisted 
grapevine, that hung over a high rock ; but 
it was stout and strong, for it had been 
there many years and was securely fas- 
tened about the roots of two large trees. 
The old woman got in first and grasping 
the vine tightly, swung herself further 
and further until she was clear out over 
the water. ^ ' It is delightful, ' ' said she ; 
^' just try it." 

So Snowbird got into the swing. While 
she was enjoying the cool breeze that rose 
from the lake, the old woman crept behind 
the trees, and, as soon as the swing was in 
full motion, and Snowbird was far out 
over the water, she cut the vine and let 
her drop down, down, down, not stopping 
to see what became of her. 

She went home and putting on her 
daughter-in-law's clothes sat in Snow- 
bird's place by the fire, hiding her face as 
much as possible, so that no one should 
see her wrinkles. 

When Brown Bear came home he gave 
her the dainties, supposing she was his 
wife ; and she ate them greedily, paying 
no attention to the baby, who was crying 
as if its heart would break. 


American Indian Tales 


*^Wliy does little Pigeon cry so? 
asked the father. 

'^I don't know," said the old woman, 
'' I suppose he's hungry." 

Thereat, she picked up the baby, shook 
it soundly and made believe to nurse it. It 
cried louder than ever. She boxed its 
ears and stuffed something into its mouth 
to keep it quiet. 

Brown Bear thought his wife very cross, 
so he took his pipe and left the wigwam. 

The orphan boy had watched all these 
doings and had grown suspicious. Going 
to the fire he pretended to brush away the 
ashes ; and, when he thought the old 
woman was not looking at him, he stirred 
the logs and made a bright flame leap up 
so that he could plainly see her face. He 
was sure there was something wrong. 

'^ Where is Snowbird? " asked he. 

' ' Sh — ! ' ' said the old woman ; ' ' she is 
by the lake, swinging." The boy said no 
more, but went out of the wigwam and 
down to the lake. There he saw the 
broken swing, and guessing what had hap- 
pened, he went in search of Brown Bear 
and told him what he had discovered. 

Brown Bear did not like to think any 
wrong of his mother, and therefore asked 
her no questions. Sadly he paced up and 


\ Snowbird and the Water-Tiger 9 


down outside the door of his wigwam. 
Then taking some black paint he smeared 
his face and body with it as a sign of 
mourning. When this was done he turned 
his long spear upside down, and pressing 
it into the earth, prayed for lightning, 
thunder and rain, so that his wife's body 
might rise from the lake. 

Every day he went thither, but saw no 
sign of his dear Snowbird, though the 
thunder rolled heavily and the lightning 
had split a great oak near the wigwam 
from the top to the base. He watched in 
the rain, in the sunlight, and when the 
great, white moon shone over the lake, but 
he saw nothing. 

Meanwhile the orphan boy looked after 
little Pigeon, letting him suck the danti- 
est, juiciest bits of meat, and bringing him 
milk to drink. On bright afternoons he 
would take the baby to the lake shore and 
amuse him by throwing pebbles into the 
water. Little Pigeon would laugh and 
crow and stretch out his tiny hands, then 
taking a pebble would try to throw it into 
the water himself, and, though it always 
dropped at his feet, he was just as well 

One day as they were playing in this 
manner they saw a white gull rise from 

10 American Indian Tales 

the center of the lake and fly towards the 
part of the shore where they were. When 
it reached them it circled above their 
heads, flying down close to them until 
little Pigeon could almost touch its great, 
white wings. Then, all of a sudden, it 
changed to a woman — Snowbird, little 
Pigeon's mother ! 

The baby crowed with delight and 
caught at two belts, one of leather and 
one of white metal, that his mother wore 
about her waist. She could not speak; 
but she took the baby in her arms, 
fondled it and nursed it. Then she made 
signs to the boy by which he understood 
that he was to bring the child there every 

When Brown Bear came home that 
night the boy told him all that had hap- 

The next afternoon when the baby 
cried for food the boy took him to the 
lake shore. Brown Bear following and 
hiding behind the bushes. The boy stood 
where he had before, close to the water's 
edge, and, choosing a smooth, round peb- 
ble, raised his arm slowly and with care- 
ful aim threw it far out into the lake. 

Soon the gull, with a long, shining belt 
around its body, was seen rising from the 

*' Then, all of a sudden it changed to a woman." 

Snowbird and the Water-Tiger 11 

water. It came ashore, hovered above 
them a moment, and, as on the previous 
day, changed into a woman and took the 
child in her arms. 

While she was nursing it her husband 
appeared. The black paint was still on 
his body, but he held his spear in his 
hand. f 

^' Why have you not come home? " he 
cried, and sprang forward to embrace her. 

She could not speak, but pointed to the 
shining belt she wore. 

Brown Bear raised his spear carefully 
and struck a great blow at the links. 
They were shivered to fragments and 
dropped on the sands, where any one see- 
ing them would have supposed they were 
pieces of a. large shell. 

Then Snowbird's speech returned and 
she told how when she fell into the lake, 
a water-tiger seized her and twisting his 
tail around her waist, drew her to the 

There she found a grand lodge whose 
walls were blue like the blue jay's back 
when the sun shines upon it, green like 
the first leaves of the maize and golden 
like the bright sands on the island of the 
Caribs ; and the floor was of sand, white 
as the snows of winter. This was the 



American Indian Tales 

wigwam of the Chief of the water-tigers, 
whose mother was the Horned Serpent 
and lived with him. 

The Serpent lay on a great, white shell 
which had knobs of copper that shone like 
distant campfires. But these were noth- 
ing to the red stone that sparkled on her 
forehead. It was covered with a thin skin 
like a man's eyelid, which was drawn 
down when she went to sleep. Her horns 
were very wonderful, for they were pos- 
sessed of magic. When they touched a 
great rock the stone fell apart and there 
was a pathway made through it wherever 
the Serpent wanted to go. 

There were forests in the Water-Tiger's 
country, trees with leaves like the willow, 
only longer, finer and broader, bushes and 
clumps of soft, dark grass. 

When night came and the sun no longer 
shone down into the lodge and the color 
went out of the walls, there were fireflies 
— green, blue, crimson, and orange — that 
lighted on the bushes outside the Water- 
Tiger's wigwam ; and the most beautiful 
of them passed inside and fluttered about 
the throne of the Serpent, standing guard 
over her while the purple snails, the day 
sentinels, slept. 

Snowbird trembled when she saw these 




Snowbird and the Water-Tiger 13 

things and fell down in a faint before the 
great Horned Serpent. But the Water- 
Tiger soothed her, for he loved her and 
wanted her to become his wife. This she 
consented to do at last on condition that 
she should be allowed to go back sometimes 
to the lake shore to see her child. 

The Water-Tiger consulted his mother, 
who agreed to lend him a sea-gull's wing 
which should cover his wife all over and 
enable her to fly to the shore. He was 
told, however, to fasten his tail securely 
about her waist, lest she should desert him 
when she found herself near her old home. 
He did so, taking care to put a leather 
belt around her, for fear the links of white 
metal might hurt her delicate skin. 

So she lived with the Water- Tiger, kept 
his lodge in order and made moccasins for 
the little water-tigers out of beaver skin 
and dried fish scales, and was as happy as 
she could have been anywhere away from 
her own Brown Bear and Little Pigeon. 

When the old woman. Brown Bear's 
mother, saw them at the door of the wig- 
wam, she leaped up and flew out of the 
lodge and was never seen again. 









N the beginning, when 
the Cahrocs lived on the 
shores of the Klamath 
River, beyond the desert 
of the sage-brush and 
far from the Rocky- 
mountains, on towards 
the falling place of the 
sun, they had many good gifts. Their 
forests were noble and their deer were 
stately and fat. The bear was fierce, but 
his flesh was sweet and life-giving, and 
the Cahrocs grew strong by feeding upon 
it. But they longed for the gift of fire. 
In the evening when the beautiful red ap- 
peared in the sky they looked and looked 
upon it and wished that they might catch 
just one spark from the fagots in the 

All the fire in the world at that time 
was held by two old hags who lived at the 
mouth of the river and watched it with 
jealous care. They also held the key of the 
dam that kept back the shining salmon. 

The Cahrocs hated the old women and 
sought for some way to deceive them, so 
that they might loose the salmon, but 



American Indian Tales 

most of all they wanted the precious fire; 
They lay and shivered under the thick 
bear-skin robes, for the nights were long 
and cold in their country, and the north 
wind blew in their faces and cut them 
sharply with his spears of ice and his 
arrows of snow. 

They tried many times to steal the fire. 
Those rich in wampum offered to buy it, 
while some who were cunning attempted 
to wheedle the old hags into giving it to 
them, but all to no purpose. At last they 
thought of asking the animals to help 
them. But who so cunning and so brave 
as to undertake the task ? The bear was 
too clumsy and growled too much, the elk 
was too tall and his antlers would strike 
against the lodge pole of the wigwam; 
the dog was not wise, and the serpent was 
never known to do good to the Cahrocs or 
to any man. 

The council sat and smoked and 
thought about the matter and at last de- 
cided to ask the Coyote, for he was lean 
and hungry and might be glad to earn 
some food. Moreover, he would feel 
proud to have the Cahrocs ask a favor of 
him, for even the meanest beast despised 
him because he had such hard work to 
get a living. 



'^ The Coyote or Prairie Wolf 19 ^ifc;!^ 

So they went to see the Coyote. His /f ?? J 
home was in the deserts half way to the 
mountains, where he cowered behind the 
sage-brush, from whence he kept a sharp <*. 

lookout for blood spilled by the hunter, r^- 

the flesh that he threw away, or animals 
small and weak enough for him to be able 
to capture. The Coyote must forever go 
hungry, for when the animals were let 
loose uj)on the earth and each sprang 
upon its prey, the mountain sheep which 
was given to the Coyote dodged him, and 
ever since all coyotes blunder in the chase. 

The Cahrocs found him sniffing at the 
ground for the hunter's trail. He felt 
flattered when he knew that they had 
come to see him, but he was far too cun- 
ning to show it. They explained their 
errand, but he would not promise to do 
anything. He took the food that they 
offered him, some dog's meat, buffalo 
steaks, and bear' s kidney, dainties that the 
Cahrocs gave to an honored guest. Then 
he could no longer conceal his pleasure, 
nor refuse to do what they asked of him. 

He did not need to hunt that night, so 
he curled himself up snugly, put his nose 
under his paws, whisked his tail about to 
keep his feet warm, and for the first time 
in his life was really comfortable. He 

'■" ' '"^5»^ 

"^v^s-* ^ 

Ameeican Indian Tales 

soon fell asleep, but not before lie had 
made up his mind that it would be well to 
do his best for the Cahrocs ; it was much 
better than hunting in the desert. 

The next morning he set out early to 
secure help from other animals, for he 
could not do the thing alone. The 
smaller ones did not dare to refuse him, 
and the larger ones felt sorry for the poor 
creature, and were willing to be of use to 

The Coyote placed a frog nearest to the 
camp of the Cahrocs, then a squirrel, a 
bat, a bear, and a cougar at certain meas- 
ured distances, arranged in proportion to 
their strength and to the roughness of the 
road. Last of all a Cahroc was told to 
hide in the bushes near the hut where the 
old hags lived. 

Then the Coyote walked slowly up to 
the door and scratched for admittance. 
One of the sisters went to see what was 
wanted and she let him in; they were 
surely not afraid of a miserable coyote. 
He walked wearily to the center of the 
lodge, where he dropped down as if tired 
out, and shivered so that he shook the 
very lodge pole. 

The two old hags who sat by the fire 
cooking salmon turned to look at him, 

f.-f , 


,**■' «» 

The Coyote or Prairie Wolf 21 

and one of tliem said : ' ' Come up near 
the fire if you are cold," and she made 
room for him directly in front of the 

He dragged himself to it and lay with 
his head upon his paws. When he grew 
uncomfortably warm he gave two short 
barks as a signal to the man outside. 

The old hags thought he barked because 
he enjoyed the fire. ''Ha! ha!" they 
said, *' wouldn't the Cahrocs like this ? " 

Just then there was a fearful noise of 
hammering and of stones striking the 
lodge. The old women rushed out to 
drive the enemy away. 

Instantly the Coyote seized a haK-burnt 
stick of wood and fled like a comet down 
the trail in the forest. The hags pursued 
him ; but when he heard their shrieks he 
ran all the faster. 

Nearer and nearer they came, now they 
were almost upon him and his strength 
was fast giving out. By a great effort he 
flung the brand from him, just as they put 
out their hands to catch him. 

The Cougar seized it and ran with long 
bounds down the winding road. The hags 
followed, but were no match for him and 
he had no trouble in handing it over to ^ 
the Bear. • 




Ameeican Indian Tales 

V- (-- 


The Bear was very awkward and 
dropped it several times from liis clumsy 
paws, so that the old women gained upon 
him rapidly ; and had it not been that the 
Bat seized it and flew high in the air quite 
unexpectedly, the Cahrocs would never 
have got the fire. As for the old Bear, he 
rolled over against the tree exhausted. 

The Bat led the hags a roundabout chase 
over trees, now flying high, now close to 
their very heads, until he nearly tired them 

They took courage when they saw the 
Squirrel spring forward to catch the stick 
that the Bat let fall from a great height. 
*^ Surely we can catch him," they said; 
and they gathered their skirts about them 
and pursued him with furious haste. 

All this time the brand was burning 
and it grew so hot that the Squirrel could 
hardly hold it. But he was a brave, little 
fellow and hopped and jumped steadily 
on through the woods, though his tail was 
burnt so badly that it curled up over his 
back and shoulders. He bears the marks 
of the singeing to this day. 

Just as he thought he would have to 
drop it, he caught sight of the Frog. It 
was such a little piece by this time that 
the Frog could hardly take it from him, 

The Coyote or Peairie Wolf 23 

but lie caught hold of it and ran on. The 
smoke blinded him and made his eyes 
smart, besides choking him so that he 
lost ground, and soon heard the hags close 
to him. He was the last, and only a pond 
lay between him and the village of the 
Cahrocs. His heart thumped against his 
sides and he dropped the fire in order to 
take breath before jumping into the water, 
when the old women pounced upon him. 

But he was too quick for them. He 
dodged them, swallowed the brand and 
jumped into the lake. They leaped after 
Mm, but it was of no use, for they could 
not swim. So he got away, and they had 
fco turn back and go to their hut at the 
mouth of the river. 

The Cahrocs were waiting on the edge 
of the pond, and when the Frog crossed 
they welcomed him with shouts of joy. 
But where was the fire ? He lost no time 
in showing them, for he spat out the 
sparks upon some fagots and they quickly 
caught alight. But the Frog lost his tail 
and it never grew again. Tadpoles still 
wear tails, but when they Ibecome full- 
grown frogs they cast them off, out of 
respect to their brave ancestor, who is 
king of all the animals that inhabit the 
bogs and marshes of the Klamath country. 


A, ,,«3'»=^-«''S!™*^ ■ 



24 Ameeican Indian Tales 

After his success in getting tlie fire, tlie 
Coyote was a great favorite with the 
Cahrocs and dined oif the choicest bits 
that were brought into the camp. 

They were not satisfied even now that 
they had roasted meat and corn, but must 
needs coax the Coyote to go and get the 
salmon. They explained to him that the 
big, shining fish were all in a great dam 
at the mouth of the river and that the old 
hags from whom he had stolen the fire 
kept the key. 

The Coyote was willing, but he said: 
* ' Wait a little till my coat changes so 
that the hags will not know me." 

So they waited till his coat grew thin 
and light in color, and then when he was 
ready, accompanied him, with song and 
shouting, to the edge of the village. 

He went down the Klamath many days' 
journey, until he reached the mouth of 
the river, where he saw the old hags' 
lodge. He rapped at the door. They 
were asleep by the fire, but one of them 
being roused by the noise, growled, 
'^ Come in." 

Instead of hanging his head, drooping 
his tail, and looking weary, as he had done 
when he went to steal the fire, the Coy- 
ote held up his head, frisked his tail 


The Coyote or Prairie Wolf 25 

and grinned at them. He was of much 
greater imj)ortance now, and he was sleek 
and round from being well fed, so the hags 
did not know him. 

They cooked salmon, but offered him 
none. He said nothing, for he was not 
hungry, having dined off food that the 
Cahrocs had prepared for him . ' ' Ha ! " he 
thought, ** I shall soon have all the salmon 
I want from the Cahrocs." 

The next morning he pretended to be 
asleep when the elder sister arose and 
went to the cupboard to get the key of 
the dam. She was going for salmon for 
breakfast. When she had left the lodge 
he stretched himself lazily and walked 
slowly towards the door. Once outside 
he ran after the old woman and flung 
himself between her feet, so that she fell 
down and in doing so dropped the key. 
He seized it, went to the dam and un- 
locked it. 

The green water shining with silvery 
salmon rushed through it so fast that it 
broke not only the lock, but the dam it- 
self, and thereafter the Cahrocs had all 
the salmon that they wanted. 

The Coyote grew proud over his success 
and was not satisfied with the kindness 
and honor shown to him by the Cahrocs. 

^ 26 American Indian Tales 


He wanted to dance through heaven. He 
chose a bright blue Star for a partner and 
called out to her night after night to 
dance with him. At last she grew tired 
of his howling ; so one night she told him 
to go to the highest point of the cliff and 
she would reach down far enough for him 
to dance with her. 

He had fine sport for a while ; but as she 
lifted him higher and higher he began to 
feel cold, until his paws became numb and 
slipped from his partner's wrist, and he 
fell into the great chasm that is between 
the sky and the earth at the edge of the 
world. He went down, down, until e very- 
bit of him was lost ; for Coyotes could not 
be permitted to dance with Stars. 








NCE upon a time the In- 
dians owned all the land 
around the Big Sea 
Water. TheGood 
Spirit had smoked the 
pil3e of peace at the 
Red-stone quarry and 
called all the nations to 
him. At his command they washed the 
war-paint from their faces, buried their 
clubs and tomahawks and made them- 
selves pipes of red sand-stone like the one 
that he had fashioned. They, too, smoked 
the peace-pipe, and there was no longer 
war among the nations, but each dwelt 
by its own river and hunted only the deer, 
the beaver, the bear, or the bison. 

In those happy days there lived on that 
shore of the Big Sea Water, which is 
directly under the hunter's star, an In- 
dian whom all his nation trusted, for 
there were none like him in courage, wis- 
dom, and prudence. From his early child- 
hood they had looked to him to do some 
great deed. 

He had often mastered the grizzly bear 


American Indian Tales 

and the strong buffalo. Once lie captured 
a buffalo ox, so large and so strong that 
a dozen arrows did not kill it, and from 
that day he was known as Mad Buffalo. 

When the magic horns were needed for 
medicine for the people. Mad Buffalo went 
forth in the Moon of Flowers and by cun- 
ning, not by magic, cut them from the 
head of the Great Horned Serpent. For 
this the people loved him and he sat with 
the oldest and the wisest of the tribe. 

Their greatest trouble in those days was 
the mysterious thunder-bird, which was 
often seen flying through the air. It had 
black and ragged wings, and as it moved 
swiftly overhead they darkened all the 
earth. On moonlight nights no harm 
^came ; but when it passed in the daytime, 
'or when the Moon-princess was journey- 
ing to see her brother, the Sun-prince, and 
her shining lodge was hidden by the 
beautiful red, the thunder-bird did evil to 
all who fell under its shadow. 

Great curiosity existed as to its nest, 
but no one had dared to follow it, nor had 
any hunter discovered a place where it 
seemed likely that it could hide. Some 
thought it lived in a hollow tree, others 
that its home was in the sandstone cav- 
erns, but it had never been seen to alight. 

" Pounced upon him, and lifted him into the air." IH^jj^ 


Mad Buffalo 


One day in the winter, Mad Buffalo set 
out in search of food for his family. He 
had to travel to the lodge of the beavers 
across the Big Sea Water and far up the 
river. He trapped a fat beaver, slung it 
over his shoulder and started for home 
just as the full moon showed through the 

While crossing the lake, when he was 
in sight of his own wigwam, a great 
shadow passed before him, shutting out all 
light. After it had gone he looked about 
him for the cause. The night was clear 
and the moon so bright that the hunter's 
star could be seen but faintly, but objects 
about him were as plain as in the day. 

At first he saw nothing, for the thunder- 
bird was directly over his head; but as 
it circled he caught sight of it. It made 
a swift movement downwards, pounced 
upon him and lifted him with all he had 
into the air. 

He felt himself rising slowly till he was 
far above the earth, yet not so far as to 
prevent him seeing what was going on in 
the village. He could even see his own 
wigwam and his children in the doorway. 
They saw him and were terribly fright- 
ened. Their mother failed to comfort 
them, for they knew by heart all the 




American Indian Tales 

dreadful tales that were told of the 
thunder-bird. They themselves had seen 
the beautiful birch tree which they had 
often climbed, torn up by the roots and 
lie black and dead in the forest. And the 
oak tree where the warriors assembled 
was split to its base by this terrible creat- 
ure. The yellow cedar whose boughs were 
used for the canoe that sailed on the Big 
Sea Water was scorched and blighted by 
the thunder-bird. 

Mad Buffalo's heart did not fail him. 
He grasped his spear firmly and waited 
his chance to do battle with the monster. 
Faster and faster they went towards the 
north, straight across the Big Sea Water, 
rising higher and higher in the air. 

At last they came to a great mountain 
where no trees grew. The top was a solid, 
bare, rugged rock, while the sides were 
formed of sharp boulders, with here and 
there a small patch of coarse grass and a 
few stunted furze bushes. In a cleft of 
the highest rock overhanging the water 
was the nest of the thunder-bird. It was 
made of the tendons of human beings, 
woven with their scalp locks and the 
feathers they had worn when living. 

Still Mad Buffalo was not afraid. As 
the bird neared its home it croaked and 

•— N 

muttered, and the sound was echoed and 
re-echoed till the noise was deafening. 
Worse than this, the creature tried to 
dash him against the rock, driving him 
towards it with its wings ; and when these 
struck him his flesh stung and smarted as 
if touched by coals of fire. 

By violently wrenching himself and 
balancing his spear, he managed to escape 
uninjured. At length with one powerful 
blow the bird drove him into its nest. It 
then flew away. 

Mad Buffalo was stunned, but only for 
a moment. On coming to himself he 
heard a low crackling noise of thunder 
^^ and found that he was left to the mercy 
of a brood of wild, hungry young thun- 
ders, for whose food he had probably been 
brought. They began at once to pick at 
his head, uttering croaks like the old bird, 
only not so loud ; but as they were many 
the sound was, if possible, more dreadful. 

Seeing that they were young birds, Mad 
Buffalo supposed they would be helpless ; 
and when the old bird was out of sight he 
ventured to fight them. Raising himself 
as well as he could, he struck at one with 
his spear. Thereupon they all set upon 
him, beating him with their wings and 
blinking at him with their long, narrow, 


American Indian Tales 


blood-red eyes, from whicli darted flashes 
of lightning that scorched his hands and 
face. In spite of the pain he fought 
bravely; though, when they struck him 
with their sharp wings, it was like the 
prick of a poisoned arrow or the sting of 
a serpent. 

One by one their strength failed them 
and they were beaten down into the nest. 
Mad Buffalo took hold of the largest and 
strongest, wrung its neck and threw it 
over the precipice. On seeing this the 
others crept close together and did not 
offer to touch him again. 

He seized another, pulled out its heart, 
threw the body away and spread the skin 
over the edge of the nest to dry. Then 
filling his pipe from a pouch of wolf skin 
suspended from his belt, he sat down 
to smoke. While resting he wrung the 
necks of the other birds and threw them 
into the Big Sea Water, saving only their 
hearts and claws. 

When he had killed them all he took 
four short whiffs at his pipe, pointing as 
he did so to the kingdoms of the four 
winds, and asking them for assistance. 
Then he got inside the dry skin, fastened 
it round him with the claws he had saved, 
put the hearts of the young thunders on 


Mad Buffalo 

his spear and started to roll down the side 
of the mountain. 

As he tumbled from rock to rock the 
feathers of the skin flashed like fire- 
insects. When he was about half way 
down he straightened himself out and, 
lifting the wings with his arms, found 
that he could fly. He moved slowly at 
first, but was soon used to the motion and 
went as fast as the great bird could have 
done. L" 

He crossed the Big Sea Water and 
winged his way over the forest until he 
came to the place from which he had been 
taken ten days before. There he alighted, 
tore off the bird's skin and started home- 

His wife and children could hardly 
believe that it was he ; for they supposed 
the young thunders had long ago picked 
his bones. He broiled the hearts of the 
birds, which crackled and hissed so that 
they could be heard a mile from the 
wigwam, but the meat was juicy and 

The old bird was never seen again in 
that part of the country. Hunters who 
came from the Rocky Mountains say that 
it built a nest on the highest peak, where 
it raised another brood that sometimes 





Amekican Indian Tales 

came down towards the earth, despoiling 
the forests and the grain fields. But they 
flew higher than formerly, and from the 
day that Mad Buffalo fought them they 
never interfered with men. Their nest 
henceforth was made of the bones of the 
mountain goat and the hair of his beard. 
Now when Indian children hear the 
fire crackling they say it is the hearts 
of the young thunders ; for all their na- 
tions know of the brave deed of Mad 




GREAT chief , Red Thun- 
der, was traveling with 
his wife and three chil- 
dren to a council of the 
nations. When they 
were near the place ap- 
pointed for the meeting, 
one of the children saw 
a beautiful white bird winging its way 
high in the air. He pointed upwards, 
clapping his hands with delight, for it was 
flying swiftly towards the earth and the 
sun was shining on its broad back and 

While the smile was on their faces the 
bird suddenly appeared above them, and 
in a moment struck their mother to the 
earth, driving her into the ground so that 
no portion of her body remained. The 
force of the blow was so great that the 
bird itself was broken in pieces and its 
plumes were scattered far and wide. The 
Indians assembled at the council, rushed 
forth eagerly to secure them ; for a white 
feather is not easily procured and is 
highly prized in time of war. 

Red Thunder stood speechless in his 




American Iis^DiAisr Tales 

great agony. Then taking Ms little ones 
with him he lied into the forest, and no 
man ever saw him again. He built 
himself a lodge and never passed far from 
its doorway. When Winter shook his 
white locks and covered the land with 
snow, Red Thunder fell, shot by an unseen 

Thus the three boys were left alone. 
Even the eldest was not large enough or 
strong enough to bring home much food, 
and all that they could do was to set snares 
for rabbits. The animals were sorry for 
them and took them in charge. The 
squirrels dropped nuts at their doorway, 
and a great brown bear kept guard over 
them at night. They were too young to 
remember much of their parents, and they 
were brave boys, who tried their best to 
learn how to hunt and fish. The eldest 
soon became skillful and he taught his 

When they were all able to take care of 
themselves, the eldest wanted to leave 
them and go to see the world, to find 
other lodges and bring home vdves for 
each of them. The younger ones would 
not hear of this, and said that they had 
gone along so far well without strangers, 
and they could still do without them. So 



they continued to live together and no 
more was said about any of them leaving. 

One day they wanted new quivers for 
their arrows. One made his of otter, 
another chose sheep, and a third took 
wolf skin. Then they thought it well to 
make new arrows. They made many, 
some being of oak and a few, very pre- 
cious, of the thigh-bone of the buck. It 
took them much longer to fashion the 
heads of flint and sandstone ; but at last 
all were finished, and they were ready for 
a grand hunt. They laid wagers with one 
another as to who should come in first with 
game, each one agreeing to kill only the 
animal he was in the habit of taking, and 
not to meddle with what he knew belonged 
to his brother. 

The youngest, named Deep Voice, had 
not gone far when he met a black bear, 
which according to the agreement he was 
not to kill. But the animal was so close 
to him that he could not refrain from tak- 
ing aim. The bear fell dead at his feet. 
His scruples were gone then, so he began 
skinning it. 

Soon his eyes troubled him and he 
rubbed them with his bloody hands, 
when, on looking up, everything appeared 
red. He went to the brook and washed 



Ameeican Indian Tales 

his hands and face, but the same red hue 
was still on the trees, the ground, and 
even on the skin of the black bear. He 
heard a strange noise, and leaving the 
animal partly skinned, v^ent to see 
whence it came. 

By following the sound he came to the 
shore of a great lake, where he saw a 
beautiful swan swimming. Its feathers 
were not like those of any other swan he 
had ever seen, for they were a brilliant 
scarlet and glistened in the sun. 

He drew one of his arrows and fired at it, 
but the arrow fell short of its mark. He 
shot again and again until his quiver was 
empty. Still the swan remained dipping 
its long neck into the water, seemingly 
ignorant of the hunter's presence. 

Then he remembered that three magic 
arrows which had belonged to his father 
were in the wigwam. At any other time 
he would not have thought of meddling 
with them ; but he was determined to se- 
cure this beautiful bird. He ran quickly 
to the lodge, brought the arrows and fired 
them. The first went very near the bird, 
but did not strike it. The second also fell 
harmless in the water. The third struck 
the swan in the neck ; but she rose imme- 
diately and flew towards the setting sun. 




t>'-V J 

The Red Swan 


Deep Voice was disappointed, and 
knowing that his brothers would be 
angry about the loss of the arrows, he 
rushed into the water and secured the 
first two, but found that the third had 
been carried off by the red swan. 

He thought that as the bird was 
wounded it could not fly far, so, placing 
the magic arrows in his quiver, he ran on 
to overtake it. Over hills and prairies, 
through the forests and out on the plain 
he went, till at last it grew dark and he 
lost sight of the swan. 

On coming out of the forest he heard 
voices in the distance, and knew that 
people could not be far off. He looked 
about and saw a large town on a distant 
hill and heard the watchman, an old owl, 
call out, ' ' We are visited, ' ' to which the 
people answered with a loud ' ' Hallo ! ' ' 

Deep Voice approached the watchman 
and told him that he came for no evil 
purpose, but merely to ask for shelter. 
The owl said nothing, but led him to the 
lodge of the Chief, and told him to enter. 

' ' Come in, come in, ' ' said the Chief ; 
*'sit there," he added, as the young man 

He was given food to eat and but few 
questions were asked him. 



AMERicAisr Indian Tales 


By and by tlie Chief, who had been 
watching him closely, said, ^ ' Daughter, 
take our son-in-law's moccasins, and if 
they need mending, do it for him." 

Deep Voice was much astonished to 
find himself married at such short notice, 
but made up his mind to let one of his 
brothers have her for his wife. She was 
not good-looking and she proved herself 
bad-tempered by snatching the moccasins 
in such a surly manner that Deep Voice 
ran after her, took them from her and 
hung them up himself. 

Being very tired he soon fell asleep. 
Early next morning he said to the girl : 

Which way did the red swan go ? " 

''Do you think you can catch it?" 
she said, and turned angrily away. 

'' Yes," he answered. 

''Foolishness!" said the girl; but as 
he persisted, she went to the door and 
showed him the direction in which the 
bird had flown. 

It was still dark, and as the road was 
strange to him he traveled slowly. When 
daylight came he started to run and ran 
all day as fast as he could. Towards 
night he was almost exhausted and was 
glad to find himself near another village, 
where he might be able to rest. 









W ' 




The Red Swan 

This village also had an owl for a 
watchman, a large, gray bird, who saw him 
at a distance and called to those in the 
camp, ^'Tu-who! we are visited." 

Deep Voice was shown to the lodge of 
the Chief and treated exactly as on the 
first night. This time the Chief's daugh- 
ter was beautiful and gentle in her ways. 
^ ' She shall be for my elder brother, ' ' 
thought the boy, ' ' for he has always been 
kind to me." 

He slept soundly all night and it was 
nearly dawn when he awoke ; but he lost 
no time, for the Chief's daughter was 
ready to answer his questions at once. 
She told him the red swan had passed 
about the middle of the previous after- 
noon, showed him the exact course it took 
and pointed out the shortest road to the 

He went slowly until sunrise and then 
ran as before. He was a swift runner, for 
he could shoot an arrow and then pass it 
in its flight so that it would fall behind 
him. He did this many times on the 
second day, for it helped him to travel 
faster. Towards evening, not seeing any 
town, he went more leisurely, thinking 
that he would have to travel all night. 

Soon after dark he saw a glow of light 


;-j>»=^-T.>'V'. ^TTi 



Ameeican Indian Tales 




in the woods, and found when lie went 
nearer that it came from a small, low 
lodge. He went cautiously on and looked 
in at the doorway. An old man was sit- 
ting by the fire, his head bent forward on 
his breast. 

Although Deep Voice had not made the 
slightest noise the old man called out, 
*' Come in, my grandson. '^ 

The boy entered. 

^ * Take a seat there, ' ' said the old man, 
pointing to a corner opposite him by the 
fire. ^'Now dry your things, for you 
must be tired, and I will cook supper for 
you. My kettle of water stands near the 

Deep Voice had been looking about the 
fireplace, but had seen no kettle. Now 
there appeared a small earthen pot filled 
with water. The old man took one grain 
of corn and one whortleberry, dropped 
them into the bot and set it where it 
would boil. Deep Voice was hungry and 
thought to himself that there was small 
chance of a good supper. 

When the water boiled the old man 
took the kettle off, handed him a dish 
and spoon made of the same material as 
the pot and told him to help himself. 

Deep Voice found the soup so good that 




The Red Swan 


he helped himself again and again nntil 
he had taken all there was. He felt 
ashamed, but he was still hungry. 

Before he could speak, the old man 
said, ^'Eat, eat, my grandchild, help 
yourself, ' ' and motioned to the pot, which 
was immediately refilled. 

Deep Voice again helped himself to all 
the soup and again the kettle was filled, 
and his hunger was satisfied. Then the 
pot vanished. 

^'My grandchild," said the old man, 
when Deep Voice had finished, " you have 
set out on a difficult journey, but you will 
succeed. Only he determined, and be pre- 
pared for whatever may happen. To- 
morrow you will go on your way until the 
sun sets, when you will find one of my 
fellow-magicians. He will give you food 
and shelter and will tell you more than I 
am permitted to do. Only he firm On 
the day beyond to-morrow you will meet 
still another who will tell you all you 
wish to know and how you are to gain 
your wish." 

Deep Voice lay down on the buffalo 
skins, which were white and soft, and 
slept soundly; for the old man's words 
made him very happy. 

The magician prepared his breakfast as 





48 American Indian Tales 

he liad done the supper, after which the 
boy went on his way. He found the second 
magician as he had been told, and was 
given a supper from a magic kettle, and a 
couch upon white buffalo robes. 

The second magician did not seem so 
sure of the young man's success. ' ' Many 
have gone this way before you, ' ' said he, 
' ' and none have ever come back. We shall 
see, we shall see." 

This was said to try the courage of 
Deep Voice ; but he remembered what the 
first magician had told him and was firm 
in his resolution. 

After breakfast next day he ran for- 
ward quickly, for he was anxious to meet 
the third magician who should tell him 
all about the red swan. But though he 
ran all day he did not get to the third 
lodge any earlier than he had reached the 

After a supper prepared as on the pre- 
vious nights, the magician said to him : 
''My grandchild, to-morrow night you 
will come to the lodge of the Red Swan. 
She is not a bird, but a beautiful girl, the 
most beautiful that ever lived. Her father 
is a magician and rich in wampum. This 
wampum is of much value, for many of 
the shells were brought from the Great 



The Red Swan 


Salt Lake ; but he prizes his daughter far 
more than all. The Ked Swan loves her 
father, and all her life is spent in making 
him comfortable. The old man has met 
with a misfortune, having lost his cap of 
wampum which used to be fastened to his 
scalp and was never removed, night or day. 
A tribe of Indians, who had heard of it, 
one day sent to him, saying that their 
Chief's daughter was very ill and that 
but one thing could cure her — a sight of 
this magic cap of wampum. The magician 
did not suspect the messengers, though 
he tried to persuade them to bring the 
maiden to him. They declared that she 
could not be moved ; whereupon the old 
man tore off his cap, though it gave him 
much pain to do so, and sent it to the 
Chief. The story was all a pretense ; and 
when they got the cap they made fun of 
it and placed it on a pole for the birds to 
peck at, and the stranger to ridicule. The 
old man is not strong enough to get the 
cap back ; but he has been told that a 
young warrior shall some day procure it 
for him. The Red Swan goes forth in 
in the Moon of Falling Leaves to seek for 
this Brave, and she has promised to be the 
wife of him who is successful. My grand- 
child, many have followed her and have 



American Indian Tales 

failed, bnt I think you will be more fa- 
vored. When you are seated in the lodge 
of the Eed Swan, the magician will ask 
you many things. Tell him your dreams 
and what your guardian spirits have done 
for you. Then he will ask you to recover 
his cap of wampum and will show you 
what you are to do to find and punish the 
wicked possessors of it." 

Deep Voice was greatly pleased to hear 
that he might win such a beautiful wife. 
He leaped and ran gaily through the 
forest the next day, and the idea that 
he might fail never entered his mind. 
Towards evening he heard deep groans, 
which he believed came from the lodge of 
the Red Swan. 

It was not long before he reached a fine 
wigwam, and on entering saw the magi- 
cian seated in the center, holding his 
head with both hands and moaning with 

The old man prepared supper, for no 
one was allowed to see the Red Swan, or 
even to know that she was in the wig- 
wam. But Deep Voice saw a curtain 
dividing the lodge, and thought that he 
heard a rustle of wings. 

His heart did not fail him, and he 
answered the old man's questions pa- 



The Red Swan 


tiently and truthfully. When he told 
his dreams, the magician shook his head, 
saying, ' ' No, that is not the one, that is 
not it," to each, until Deep A^oice thought 
he would not tell him any more. He was 
not willing, however, to give up the Red 
Swan, so at last he remembered a dream 
wholly different from the others, which 
he straightway told. 

The magician became quite excited 
before he had finished his story, and ex- 
claimed : '' That's it, that's it ! You will 
cause me to live ! That is what I have been 
waiting for a young man to say. Will 
you go and get my cap for me ? ' ' 

' ' Yes, ' ' said Deep Voice, ' ^ and on the 
day beyond to-morrow when you hear the 
voice of the night-hawk, you must put 
your head out of the door of the lodge. 
You will see me coming with the cap, 
which I will fasten on your head before I 
enter. The magic food that I have eaten 
has given me the power to change my 
form, so I shall come as a night-hawk, 
and will give the cry to let you know 
that I am successful. Have ready your 
war-club that I may seize it to strike 
with when I come." 

Deep Voice had not known when he 
began speaking what he would say, but 

American Indiat^ Tales 

as the magician looked at him the words 
came. In spite of all the tales that he 
had heard about the young men who had 
gone before him, and the magician told 
him many that night, Deep Voice was 
anxious to begin his task. He rose early 
and went in the direction pointed out to 

When he saw the cap at a distance he 
thought that no one was near it ; but as 
he went nearer he found that those about 
it were as the hanging leaves for number. 
Knowing that he could not pass unharmed 
through so great a crowd, he changed him- 
self into a humming-bird and flew close 
enough to the cap to examine it, but did 
not touch it, for fear an arrow might be 
aimed at him. 

The cap was tied securely to a tall pole 
and no bird could unfasten it without his 
actions being noticed. Deep Voice, there- 
fore, changed himself into the down of a 
dandelion and lighted n the cap itself. 
He thrust his silver fingers under and 
between the cords, untied them, and 
lifted the cap slowly, for it was a great 
weight for so small a thing to carry. 

When the crowd below saw the cap 
moving, and that it was being carried away, 
they raised a great shout and ran after it, 

" He flew swiftly toward the magician's lodge." 






The Red Swan 

shooting clouds of arrows as they went. 
The wind which blew the arrows blew the 
down out of their reach ; so it was soon 
far enough from them to be safe for Deep 
Voice to take the form of a bird. As a 
night-hawk he flew swiftly towards the 
magician's lodge, giving the call he had 
named as a signal. 

The old man heard him and looked out. 
Deep Voice flew close to him and dropped 
the cap upon his head; then changing 
himself into a man, he seized the war- 
club which the magician had placed just 
outside the lodge, and with one power- 
ful blow fastened the cap securely, but 
knocked the old man senseless. When 
he recovered, what was the surprise of , 
Deep Voice to see, not the old magician 
who had entertained him, but a handsome 
young warrior who said to him, ' ' Thank 
you, mj friend, for the bravery and kind- 
ness by which you have restored my youth 
and strength." 

He urged Deep Voice to remain in his 
lodge as his guest. They hunted togeth- 
er many days and became fast friends. 
At last Deep Voice wished to return to 
his brothers. The young magician then 
brought out gifts — buffalo robes and deer 
skin white as snow, strings and belts of 




Vj Si^ 


American Indian Tales 



wampum, as mucli as lie could carry, 
enough to make him a great man in any- 

During all his stay nothing had been 
said about the Ked Swan. This day, as 
they were smoking their farewell pipe, 
the young magician said to Deep Voice : 
* ' My brother, you know the reward that 
was to be for him who restored my cap of 
wampum. I have given you riches that 
will be all that you will want as long as 
you live. I now give you the best gift 
of all." 

At this the Red Swan appeared. 

* ' Take her, ' ' said the magician ; 
is my sister, let her be your wife." 

So Deep Voice and the Red Swan went 
home by the way he came, stopping at the 
lodges of the old magicians to take with 
them the wives for his brothers. The Red 
Swan far surpassed them in beauty and 
loveliness, and her daughters and their 
daughters have ever been known as the 
handsomest women of the tribe. 










'SSiS(S<' 't-.,^i 







the most beautiful girl 
in a tribe noted for its 
handsome women. She 
had many suitors, but 
she refused them all ; for 
her love was given to a 
young warrior of a dis- 
tant nation, who, she felt sure, would some 
day return to throw a red deer at her feet 
in token that he wished to marry her. 

Among her suitors was a hideous old 
Indian, a chief who was very rich. He 
was scarred and wrinkled and his hair 
was as gray as the badger that burrows 
in the forest. He was cruel also, for 
when the young men were put to the tor- 
ture to prove themselves worthy to be 
warriors, he devised tests more dreadful 
than any that the tribe had ever known. 
But the chief, who was rightly named No 
Heart, declared that he would marry Bend- 
ing Willow, and, as, he was powerful, her 
parents did not dare to refuse him. Bend- 
ing Willow begged and pleaded in vain. 



\ r .{ 




58 Ameeican Indian Tales 

On the night before the day set for the 
marriage, she went into the woods, and 
throwing herself on the ground, sobbed 
as if her heart would break. All night 
she lay there, listening to the thunder of 
the great cataract of Niagara, which was 
but a woman's journey from the village. 
At last it suggested to her a sure means 
of escape. 

Early in the morning before any one 
was stirring, she went back to her father's 
wigwam, took his canoe and dragged it 
to the edge of the river. Then stepping 
into it she set it adrift and it headed 
quickly towards the Falls. It soon 
reached the rapids and was tossed like a 
withered branch on the white-crested bil- 
lows, but went on, on, swiftly and surely 
to the edge of the great fall. 

For a moment only, she sa^ the bright, 
green water, and then she felt herself 
lifted and was borne on great, white wings 
which held her above the rocks. The 
water divided and she passed into a dark 
cave behind the rainbow. 

The spirit of Cloud and Kain had gone 
to her rescue and had taken her into his 
lodge. He was a little, old man, with a 
white face and hair and beard of soft, 
white mist, like that which rises day and 




The Bended Rocks 

night from the b ase of the Falls. The 
door of his lodge was the green wave of 
Niagara, and the walls were of gray rock 
studded with white stone flowers. 

Cloud and Rain gave her a warm wrap- 
per and seated her on a heap of ermine 
skins in a far corner of the lodge where 
the dampness was shut out by a magic 
fire. This is the fire that runs beneath 
the Falls, and throws its yellow-and-green 
flames across the water, forming the rain- 

He brought her dainty fish to eat and 
delicate jelly made from mosses which 
only the water spirits can find or prepare. 

When she was rested he told her that 
he knew her story, and if she would stay 
with him he would keep her until her 
ugly old suitor was dead. " A great ser- 
pent," added he, '4ies beneath the vil- 
lage, and is even now poisoning the spring 
from which No Heart draws all the water 
that he uses, and he will soon die." 

Bending Willow was grateful, and said 
that she would gladly remain all her life 
in such a beautiful home and with such a 
kind spirit. 

Cloud and Rain smiled ; but he knew 
the heart of a young girl would turn 
towards her own home when it was safe 




Amekican Indian Tales 

for lier to return. He needed no better 
proof of this than the questions she asked 
about the serpent which caused so much 
sickness among her people. 

He told her that this serpent had lain 
there many years. When he once tasted 
human blood he could never be satisfied. 
He crept beneath a village and cast a black 
poison into the springs from which people 
drew water. When any one died the 
serpent stole out at night and drank his 
blood. That made him ravenous for more. 
So when one death occurred more followed 
until the serpent was gorged and went to 
sleep for a time. 

' ' When you return, ' ' said Cloud and 
Rain, '^ persuade your people to move 
their camp. Let them come near me, and 
should the serpent dare to follow I will 
defend them." 

Bending Willow stayed four months 
with Cloud and Rain, and he taught her 
much magic, and showed her the herbs 
which would cure sickness. 

One day when he came in from fishing 
he said to her : '' No Heart is dead. This 
night I will throw a bridge from the foot of 
the waters across the Falls to the high hills. 
You must climb it without fear, for I will 
hold it firmly until you are on the land. 








The Bended Rocks 


When tlie moon rose and lighted all the 
river, Cloud and Rain caused a gentle wind 
to raise the spray until it formed a great, 
white arch reaching from his cave to the 
distant hills. He led Bending Willow to 
the foot of this bridge of mist and helped 
her to climb until she was assured of her 
safety and could step steadily. 

All the tribe welcomed her, and none 
were sorry that she had not married No 
Heart. She told them of the good spirit, 
Cloud and Rain, of his wonderful lodge, 
of his kindness, and of the many things 
he had taught her. 

At first they would not entertain the 
idea of moving their village, for there 
were pleasant fishing-grounds where they 
lived, and by the Falls none but spirits 
could catch the fish. But when strong 
men sickened and some of the children of 
the Chief died, they took down their 
lodge poles and sought the protection of 
the good spirit. 

For a long time they lived in peace and 
health ; but after many moons the serpent 
discovered their new camp and made his 
way thither. 

Cloud and Hain was soon aware of his 
arrival, and was very angry because the 
serpent dared to come so near his lodge. 



American Indian Tales 


He took a handful of the magic fire and 
molded it into thunderbolts which he 
hurled at the monster. The first stunned 
him, the second wounded him severely, 
and the third killed him. 

Cloud and Eain told them to drag the 
body to the rapids and hurl it into the 
water. It took all the women of the tribe 
to move it, for it was longer than the 
flight of twenty arrows. As it tossed upon 
the water, it looked as though a mountain 
had fallen upon the waves, and it drifted 
but slowly to the edge of the Great Fall. 
There it was drawn between the rocks and 
became wedged so firmly that it could 
not be dislodged, but coiled itself as if 
it had lain down to sleep. Its weight was 
so great that it bent the rocks, and they 
remain curved like a drawn bow to this 
day. The serpent itself was gradually 
washed to pieces and disappeared. 

In the Moon of Flowers the young war- 
rior whom Bending Willow loved came 
and cast a red deer at her feet, and they 
were happy ever after. 









known as the laziest 
boy in the tribe. 
When his father set 
his nets, even on the 
coldest days in winter, 
he had to do it alone; 
for White Hawk would 
never help him either to carry the net 
or to cut the ice. He neither hunted nor 
fished, he took no part in the games 
of the young men, and he refused to 
wait upon his parents, until his name 
became a reproach. 

His father and mother were deeply 
grieved by his conduct, for they them- 
selves were industrious and frugal. They 
did not, like many of their tribe, return 
from the wintering grounds to feast and 
be idle ; but built themselves a lodge in 
the forest, where they laid store for the 
future. At last they determined to try 
to shame White Hawk out of his lazi- 
ness. So one night when he had refused 
to go to fetch water for them, the father 
said : '' Ah, my son, one who is afraid to 



American Indian Tales 

go to the river after dark will never kill 
tke Red Head." 

Now, it was the ambition of every In- 
dian boy to kill the Red Head. Though 
his parents did not know it, White Hawk 
had always believed that he would accom- 
plish it, and he often sat and thought of 
different ways in which it might be done, 
for he was strong, despite his laziness. 

He made no answer, but went at once 
to bed. The next morning he asked his 
mother to make him some new moccasins 
of deer skin while he cut some arrows. 
He made only four, which he put into a 
shabby quiver and laid beside his moccasins 
ready to take with him in the morning. 

He rose before daylight, and without 
waking either his father or his mother 
put on his moccasins, took his bow and 
quiver and set out, determined to kill 
the Red Head before he returned. He 
did not know which way to go, so as soon 
as it was light he shot an arrow into the 
air and followed the direction of its flight. 

He traveled all day. Towards night he 
was tired and hungry, for he had brought 
no food with him and had found but a few 
acorns in the forest. To his surprise he 
saw a fat deer with an arrow in its side 
lying across his path. 

White Hawk, The Lazy 67 

It was tlie arrow he had shot that 
J morning. He did not pull it out, but cut 

(^^ off as much meat as he wanted to eat and 
left the rest for the coyotes. 

He slept in a hollow tree all night. 
Early the next morning he shot another 
arrow into the air to find out in what 
direction to go that day, and at night he 
found another deer that had been pierced 
by this arrow. 
. Thus it happened every day for four 

:/|j days ; but as he had not withdrawn any 

of the arrows, on the fifth day he had 
none to use and so was without food. He 
was very hungry, for he had long since 
left the woods and there were no nuts or 
'U berries on the prairie. 

^" He lay down, thinking he might as well 

' ' die there as elsewhere, for he was suffer- 

ing great pain from hunger. It was not 
fcif long before he heard a hollow, rum- 
Si bling sound that seemed to be under 
'-'^ ground. 
I He stood up and looking around, saw 
O a broad, beaten path leading across the 
^f prairie. An old woman was walking along 
J this path, thumping the ground with a 
Vf stick at every step. 

^ He went nearer and was terribly fright- 

ened, for he discovered that she was a 


American Indiai^ Tales 

witch, known througliout the country as 
' ' the little old woman who makes war. ' ' 

She wore a mantle made entirely of 
women's scalps. Her staff, which was a 
stont, hickory stick, was ornamented with 
a string of toes and bills of birds of all 
kinds. At every stroke of the staff they 
fluttered and sang, each in its own fash- 
ion, and the discord was horrible. 

White Hawk followed her, creeping 
along in the high grass so as to hide him- 
self, until he saw her lodge, which was on 
the shore of the lake. She entered, took 
off her mantle and shook it several times. 
At every shake the scalps uttered loud 
shrieks of laughter, in which the old witch 

Presently she came out, and without 
seeming to look, walked directly up to 
White Hawk. She told him that she knew 
all about his determination to kill the 
Red Head, and that she would help him. 
' ' Many young men have tliouglit about 
killing him," she said, '' but you are the 
only one who has set out to do it." 

She insisted upon his going to her 
lodge to spend the night, and he went, 
although he knew that he would not be 
able to sleep in such a place. 

She told him to lie down, and taking 

.f>. « 


^1-^^ I 


White Hawk, The Lazy 


out a comb, began to comb his hair, 
which in a few moments became long and 
glossy, like a woman's. She tied it 
with a magic hairstring, and gave him a 
woman's dress of fine, soft skin, a neck- 
lace, and brooches of silver, and many 
strings of wampum. Then she painted 
his face red and yellow, not forgetting to 
put on some love-powder. Last of all she 
brought a silver bowl for him and slixDped 
a blade of scented sword-grass into his 

She told him that the Ked Head lived 
on an island in the center of the lake on 
the shore of which her lodge was built. 

On the morrow White Hawk should go 
down to the water and begin dipping the 
silver bowl into the lake and drinking 
from it. The Indians who were with the 
Red Head would see him, and, supposing 
him to be a woman, would come over in 
their canoes, and each would wish to 
make her his wife. 

He was to say, ^' No, I will only marry 
the Red Head, and he must bring his own 
canoe for me, for I have traveled a long 
way in order to be his wife." 

When the Red Head should receive the 
news he would cross in his canoe and take 
White Hawk to the island. The witch 






AMERicAisr Indian Tales 

loaded him with presents to give in the 
event of a marriage, in which case he was 
to be on the watch for an opportunity to 
kill the Red Head by cutting off his head 
with the spear of scented sword-grass. 

White Hawk rose next morning, put 
on the woman's garments that had been 
given him, went down to the lake and be- 
gan dipping water with the silver bowl. 

Presently many canoes were put out 
from the island. They were driven 
swiftly to the spot where he stood, and the 
men strove with one another in offers of 

White Hawk acted as the witch told 
him a woman would under the circum- 
stances. To all their entreaties he replied : 
' ' I have come a great way to see the Red 
Head, whom I am resolved to marry. If 
he wants me let him come in his own 
canoe to take me to his wigwam." 

The message was taken to the Red 
Head, who immediately crossed the lake 
in his canoe. As it neared the shore 
White Hawk saw that its framework was 
of live rattlesnakes, who thrust out their 
heads and hissed and rattled as he 
stepped into the boat. The Red Head 
spoke to them and they quieted down, as 
dogs at the word of their master. 




White Hawk, The Lazy 71 

When tliey landed tlie Red Head went 
straight to his wigwam and the marriage 
was performed. Then a feast was spread, 
the presents were given and White Hawk 
waited his opportunity. 

By and by Red Head's mother, who had 
been watching the bride closely, said to 
her husband, '^ That is no woman our son 
has married ; no woman ever looked out 
of her eyes like that. ' ' 

Her husband was very angry; and 
White Hawk, who had overheard the con- 
versation, jumped up and said : '^ I have 
been insulted, and by my husband's peo- 
ple. I cannot live here. I will return at 
once to my nation," and he ran out of the 
wigwam, followed by the guests and by 
the Red Head, who motioned to them to 
leave him. 

White Hawk went down to the shore 
and made pretense of getting into a canoe, 
when the Red Head laid a hand upon him 
and sorrowfully begged him to wait at 
least a little time. He turned back and 
sat down, when the Red Head threw him- 
self at his wife's feet and put his head 
into her lap. 

White Hawk lost not a moment in draw- 
ing out the blade of sword-grass and cut- 
ting off his head at a single stroke. He 

<vj.>-' "" Jcjasa*''!^ 


-Li'-- Vv! 


American Indian Tales 

then plunged into the water and swam 
across the lake with the head in his hand. 

He had scarcely reached the shore when 
he saw the Ked Head's followers come 
down with torches in search of him and 
his wife. He heard their shrieks when 
they found the headless body, and so lost 
no time in making his way to the witch's 
lodge, whither they would not be likely 
to follow him. 

The witch received him with great Joy. 
She told him that he must give her a little 
piece of the scalp for herself, but he might 
take the rest home. 

He was anxious to return, so she gave 
him a partridge to offer the spirit of the 
earth, in case he should meet him on the 

As White Hawk crossed the prairie, h6 
heard a great rumbling and crackling 
sound, and the earth split and opened in 
front of him. He threw the partridge 
into the crack and it was closed imme- 
diately, so that he passed over it in 

On reaching home he found that his 
parents had fasted and mourned for him 
as dead, for he had been gone a year. 
Many young men had come to them and 
had said, ' ' See, I am your son, ' ' until 



White Hawk, The Lazy 

when Wliite Hawk did return they would 
not even look at him. 

He threw himself at their feet and told 
them that he had killed the Red Head. 
They paid no attention to him, and the 
young men of the tribe to whom he re- 
peated the story laughed in his face. 

He went outside the camp and brought 
back the head. Then indeed his parents 
rejoiced, for they knew that he would 
be admitted at once to the company of 
warriors for having rid them of so great 
an enemy. While they all wondered 
how one who was so lazy could have be- 
come so great a brave, he told them why 
he had acted as he did before he left the 
village. He was so strong that he had 
been afraid of breaking things, and so 
did not dare to touch them. He took 
hold of some fishiug-nets, and as he turned 
them over in his fingers, they snapped in 
many places. But now that he was a 
man his strength would be useful to him 
and to the tribe. He could clear the for- 
est of fallen trees, and carry some to the 
streams, where he could throw them so 
that his people might go from one side 
to the other in safety. Thereafter he 
was not known as White Hawk the Lazy, 
but as ''The Strong Man. 













^ %k^ 

«9 f ■!;- 





N tlie depths of the forest 
in the land of the Daco- 
tahs stood a wigwam 
many leagues distant 
from any other. The 
old man who had been 
known to live in it was 
supposed to have died; 
but he kept himself in hiding for the 
sake of his little grandson, whose mother 
had brought him there to escape the 

The Dacotahs had once been a brave 
and mighty people. They were swift 
runners and proud of their fleetness. It 
had been told among the nations for 
many generations that a great chief 
should spring from this tribe, and that 
he should conquer all his enemies, even 
the giants who had made themselves 
strong by eating the flesh of those they 
took in battle and drinking their blood. 
This great chief should wear a white 
feather and should be known by its 

The giants believed the story and 



Ameeican Indian Tales 


souglit to prevent it coming true. So 
they said to the Dacotahs : ' ' Let us run 
a race. If you win you shall have our 
sons and our daughters to do with them 
as you please, and if we win we will take 

Some of the wise Indians shook their 
heads and said : ' ' Suppose the giants 
win ; they will kill our children and will 
serve them as dainty food upon their 
tables." But the young men answered: 
''Kaw: who can outrun the Dacotahs? 
We shall return from the race with the 
young giants bound hand and foot, to 
fetch and carry for us all our days. ' ' So 
they agreed to the wager and ran with 
the giants. 

Now, it was not to be supposed that 
the giants would act fairly. They dug 
pitfalls on the prairie, covering them 
with leaves and grass, which caused the 
runners to stumble, and lose the race. 

The Dacotahs, therefore, had to bring 
out their children and give them to the 
giants. When they were counted one 
child was missing. The giants roared 
with anger and made the whole tribe 
search for him, but he could not be 
found. Then the giants killed the father 
instead and ate his flesh, grumbling and 

'^t^ ■■ \v i^ 


The Magic Feather 


muttering vengeance with every mouth- 

This was the child whose home was in 
the forest. When he was still a very 
little fellow his grandfather made him a 
tiny bow and some smooth, light arrows, 
and taught him how to use them. 

The first time he ventured from the 
lodge he brought home a rabbit, the sec- 
ond time a squirrel, and he shot a fine, 
large deer long before he was strong 
enough to drag it home. 

One day when he was about fourteen 
years old, he heard a voice calling to him 
as he went through the thick woods: 
*'Come hither, you wearer of the white 
feather. You do not yet wear it, but you 
are worthy of it. " 

He looked about, but at first saw no 
one. At last he caught sight of the head 
of a little old man among the trees. On 
going up to it he discovered that the 
body from the heart downwards was 
wood and fast in the earth. He thought 
some hunter must have leaped upon a rot- 
ten stump and, it giving way, had caught 
and held him fast ; but he soon recognized 
the roots of an old oak that he well 
knew. Its top had been blighted by a 
stroke of lightning, and the lower branches 




American Indian Tales 

were so dark that no birds built their nests 
on them, and few even lighted upon 

The boy knew nothing of the world ex- 
cept what his grandfather had taught 
him. He had once found some lodge 
poles on the edge of the forest and a 
heap of ashes like those about their own 
wigwam, by which he guessed that there 
were other people living. He had never 
been told why he was living with an old 
man so far away from others, or of his 
father, but the time had come for him to 
know these things. 

The head which had called him, said 
as he came near: ''Go home. White 
Feather, and lie down to sleep. You will 
dream, and on waking will find a pipe, a 
pouch of smoking mixture, and a long 
white feather beside you. Put the 
feather on your head, and as you smoke 
you will see the cloud which rises from 
your pipe pass out of the doorway as a 
flock of pigeons. '^ The voice then told 
him who he was, and also that the giants 
had never given up looking for him. He 
was to wait for them no longer, but to go 
boldly to their lodge and offer to race 
with them. ''Here," said the voice, " is 
an enchanted vine which you are to 





The Magic Feather 

throw over the head of every one who 
runs with you." 

White Feather, as he was thenceforth 
called, picked up the vine, went quickly 
home and did as he had been told. He 
heard the voice, awoke and found the 
pouch of tobacco, the pipe, and the white 
feather. Placing the feather on his head, 
he filled the pipe and sat down to 

His grandfather, who was at work not 
far from the wigwam, was astonished to 
see flocks of pigeons flying over his head, 
and still more surprised to find that they 
came from his own doorway. When he 
went in and saw the boy wearing the 
white feather, he knew what it all meant 
and became very sad, for he loved the boy 
so much that he could not bear the thought 
of losing him. 

The next morning White Feather went 
in search of the giants . He passed through 
the forest, out upon the prairie and 
through other woods across another 
prairie, until at last he saw a tall lodge 
pole in the middle of the forest. He 
went boldly up to it, thinking to surprise 
the giants, but his coming was not unex- 
pected, for the little spirits which carry 
the news had heard the voice speaking to 

>-• ^'VS^'^'^'— f«!lXf1«v»- 

Ameeican Indian Tales 

Mm and had hastened to tell those whom 
it most concerned. 

The giants were six brothers who lived 
in a lodge that was ill-kept and dirty. 
When they saw the boy coming they 
made fun of him among themselves ; but 
when he entered the lodge they pretended 
that they were glad to see him and flat- 
tered him, telling him that his fame as a 
brave had already reached them. 

White Feather knew well what they 
wanted. He proposed the race; and 
though this was Just what they had in- 
tended doing, they laughed at his offer. 
At last they said that if he would have it 
so, he should try first with the smallest 
and weakest of their number. 

They were to run towards the east until 
they came to a certain tree which had 
been stripped of its bark, and then back 
to the starting point, where a war- club 
made of iron was driven into the ground. 
Whoever reached this first was to beat 
the other's brains out with it. 

White Feather and the youngest giant 
ran nimbly on, and the giants, who were 
watching, were rejoiced to see their 
brother gain slowly but surely, and at 
last shoot ahead of White Feather. 
When his enemy was almost at the goal, 


The Magic Feather 


the boy, wlio was only a few feet behind, 
threw the enchanted vine over the giant's 
head, which caused him to fall back help- 
less. No one suspected anything more 
than an accident, for the vine could not 
be seen except by him who carried it. 

After White Feather had cut ojff the 
giant's head, the brothers thought to get 
the better of him, and begged him to 
leave the head with them, for they 
thought that by magic they might bring 
it back to life, but he claimed his right 
to take it home to his grandfather. 

The next morning he returned to run 
with the second giant, whom he defeated 
in the same manner; the third morning 
the third, and so on until all but one were 

As he went towards the giant's lodge 
on the sixth morning he heard the voice 
of the old man of the oak tree who had 
first appeared to him. It came to warn 
him. It told him that the sixth giant was 
afraid to race with him, and would there- 
fore try to deceive him and work en- 
chantment on him. As he went through 
the wood he would ^ meet a beautiful 
woman, the most beautiful in the world. 
To avoid danger he must wish himself an 
elk and he would be changed into that 





American Indian Tales 

animal. Even then he must keep out of 
her way, for she meant to do him harm. 
^^ White Feather had not gone far from 
the tree when he met her. He had never 
seen a woman before, and this one was so 
beautiful that he wished himself an elk 
at once; for he was sure she would be- 
witch him. He could not tear himself 
away from the spot, however, but kept 
browsing near her, raising his eyes now 
and then to look at her. 

She went to him, laid her hand upon 
his neck and stroked his sides. Looking 
from him she sighed, and as he turned 
his head towards her, she reproached him 
for changing himself from a tall and 
handsome man to such an ugly creature. 
''For," said she, "I heard of you in a 
distant land, and, though many sought 
me, I came hither to be your wife." 

As White Feather looked at her he 
saw tears shining in her eyes, and almost 
before he knew it he wished himself a 
man again. In a moment he was re- 
stored to his natural shape, and the 
woman flung her arms about his neck 
and kissed him. 

By and by she coaxed him to lie down 
on the ground and put his head on her 
lap. ^ow, this beautiful woman was 

The Magic Feather 


really the 


in dis2:uise: and as 

White Feather lay with his head on her 
knee, she stroked his hair and forehead, 
and by her magic put him to sleep. Then 
she took an ax and broke his back. 
This done, she changed herself into the 
giant, turned White Feather into a dog, 
and bade him follow to the lodge. 

The giant took the white feather and 
placed it on his own head, for he knew 
there was magic in it ; and he wished to 
make the tribes honor him as the great 
warrior they had long expected. 


I."/ ^ 


1^ :*/yi 

^ r> 







N a little village but a 
woman's journey from 
the home of the giants 
lived a chief named 
Red Wing. He had 
two daughters, White 
Weasel and Crystal 
Stone, each noted for her beauty and 
haughtiness, though Crystal Stone was 
kind to every one but her lovers, who 
came from far and near, and were a con- 
stant source of jealousy to White Weasel, 
the elder. The eldest of the giants was 
White Weasel's suitor, but she was afraid 
of him, so both the sisters remained un- 

When the news of White Feather's race 
with the giants came to the village, each 
of the maidens determined that she would 
win the young brave for a husband. White 
Weasel wanted some one who would be a 
great chief and make all the tribes afraid 
of him. Crystal Stone loved him before- 
hand, for she knew he must be good as 
well as brave, else the white feather 
would not have been given to him. Each 
kept the wish to herself and went into the 
woods to fast, that it might come true. 




The Magic Feather 


VVlien they lieard that White Feather 
was on his way through the forest, White 
Weasel set her lodge in order and dressed 
herself gaily, hoping thereby to attract 
his attention. Her sister made no such 
preparation, for she thought so brave and 
wise a chief would have too good sense to 
take notice of a woman's finery. 

When the giant passed through the for- 
est. White Weasel went out and invited 
him into her lodge. He entered and she 
did not guess that it was the giant of whom 
she had been in such fear. 

Crystal Stone invited the dog into her 
lodge — her sister had shut him out — and 
was kind to it, as she had always been 
to dumb creatures. Now, although the 
dog was enchanted and could not change 
his condition, he still had more than hu- 
man sense and knew all the thoughts of 
his mistress. He grew to love her more 
and more every day and looked about for 
some way to show it. 

One day when the giant was hunting 
on the prairie, the dog went out to 
hunt also ; but he ran down to the bank 
of the river. He stepped cautiously into 
the water and drew out a large stone, 
which was turned into a beaver as soon as 
it touched the ground. He took it home 


88 American Indian Tales I 


to his mistress, wlio showed it to her sister 
and offered to share it with her. White 
Weasel refused it, but told her husband 
he had better follow the dog and discover 
where such fine beavers could be had. 

The giant went, and hiding behind a 
tree, saw the dog draw out a stone, which *0' 

turned into a beaver. After the animal ^^': 

had gone home he went down to the water 
and drew out a stone, which likewise / 

turned into a beaver. He tied it to his 
belt and took it home, throwing it down 
at the door of the lodge. 

When he had been at home a little while, 
he told his wife to go and bring in his belt. 
She did so, but there was no beaver tied 
to it, only a large, smooth stone such as 
he had drawn out of the water. 'j{ 

The dog, knowing that he had been 
watched, would not go for more beavers ; 
but the next day went through the woods 
until he came to a charred tree. He broke /if if 
off a small branch, which turned into a 
bear as soon as he took hold of it to carry 
it home. The giant, who had been watch- 
ing him, also broke off a branch, and he, 
too, secured a bear ; but when he took it 
home and told his wife to fetch it in, she 
found only a black stick. 

Then White Weasel became very an- 



The Magic Feather 



gry and scoffed at her husband, asking 
him if this was the way he had done the 
wonderful things that had made his fame. 
'*Ugh!" she said, '^you are a coward, 
though you are so big and great. ' ' 

The next day, after the giant had gone 
out, she went to the village to tell her 
father, Red Wing, how badly her hus- 
band treated her in not bringing home 
food. She also told him that her sister, 
who had taken the dog into her wigwam, 
always had plenty to eat, and that Crys- 
tal Stone pitied the wife of the wearer of 
the white feather, who often had to go 

Red Wing listened to her story and 
knew at once that there must be magic 
at work somewhere. He sent a company 
of young men and women to the lodge of 
Crystal Stone to see if White Weasel's 
story were true, and if so to bring his 
younger daughter and the dog to his 

Meanwhile the dog had asked his mis- 
tress to give him a bath such as the 
Indians take. They went down to the 
river, where he pointed out a spot on 
which she was to build him a lodge. She 
made it of grass and sticks, and after 
heating some large stones laid them on 




Amekican Indian Tales 

the floor, leaving only Just enough room 
for the dog to crawl in and lie down. 
Then she poured water on the stones, 
which caused a thick steam that almost 
choked him. He lay in it for a long 
time, after which, raising himself, he 
rushed out and jumped into a pool of 
water formed by the river. He came out 
a tall, handsome man, but without the 
power of speech. 

The messengers from Ked Wing were 
greatly astonished at finding a man in- 
stead of the dog that they had expected 
to see, but had no trouble in persuading 
him and Crystal Stone to go with them. 

Red Wing was as much astonished as 
his messengers had been, and called all 
the wise men of the tribe to witness what 
should take place, and to give counsel 
concerning his daughters. 

The whole tribe and many strangers 
soon assembled. The giant came also 
and brought with him the magic pipe 
that had been given to White Feather in 
his dream. He smoked it and passed it 
to the Indians to smoke, but nothing 
came of it. Then White Feather mo- 
tioned to them that he wished to take it. 
He also asked for the white feather, 
which he placed on his head; when, at 


" Lo ! Clouds of blue and white pigeons rushed from the 


The Magic Feather 

the first wliiff from the pipe, lo ! clouds 
of blue and white pigeons rushed from 
the smoke. 

The men sprang to their feet, aston- 
ished to see such magic. White Feather's 
speech returned, and in answer to the 
questions put to him, he told his story to 
the chief. 

Red Wing cad the council listened and 
smoked for a time in silence. Then the 
oldest and wisest brave ordered the giant 
to appear before White Feather, who 
should transform him into a dog. White 
Feather accomplished this by knocking 
upon him the ashes from the magic pipe. 
It was next decreed that the boys of the 
tribe should take the war-clubs of their 
fathers and, driving the animal into the 
forest, beat him to death. 

White Feather wished to reward his 
friends, so he invited them to a buffalo 
hunt, to take place in four days' time, and 
he bade them prepare many arrows. To 
make ready for them, he cut a buffalo 
robe into strips, which he sowed upon the 

On the day appointed the warriors found 
that these shreds of sTiin had grown into 
a large herd of buffaloes. They killed as 
many as they pleased, for White Feather 



91 >^) 




'.^e ""^ 


Amekican Ijstdian Tales 

tipped each arrow with magic, so that none ^ U.j 

missed their aim. -MaS' 

A grand feast followed in honor of ^^9'^. 

White Feather's triumph over the giants ?^ 
and of his n arriage with Crystal Stone. 



«i^g»%^ W" 





:\ "^. 



«_!L^^"^# i| ^^,^** '"^g 


^ yy^ 


HE O jib ways were a great 
nation whom the fairies 
loved. Their land was 
the home of many spirits, 
and as long as they lived 
on the shores of the great 
lakes the woods in that 
country were full of fairies. Some of them 
dwelt in the moss at the roots or on the 
trunks of trees. Others hid beneath the 
mushrooms and toadstools . Some changed 
themselves into bright -winged butterflies 
or tinier insects with shining wings. This 
they did that they might be near the 
children they loved and play with them 
where they could see and be seen. 

But there were also evil spirits in the 
land. These burrowed in the ground, 
gnawed at the roots of the loveliest flow- 
ers and destroyed them. They breathed 
upon the corn and blighted it. They lis- 
tened whenever they heard men talking, 
and carried the news to those with whom 
it would make most mischief. 

It is because of these wicked fairies 
that the Indian must be silent in the 


. f^ 


American Indian Tales 

woods and must not whisper confidences 
in the camp unless he is sure the spirits 
are fast asleep under the white blanket of 
the snow. 

The Ojibways looked well after the in- 
terests of the good spirits. They shielded 
the flowers and stepped carefully aside 
when moss or flower was in their path. 
They brushed no moss from the trees, and 
they never snared the sunbeams, for on 
them thousands of fairies came down from 
the sky. When the chase was over they 
sat in the doorways of their wigwams 
smoking, and as they watched the blue 
circles drift and fade into the darkness of 
the evening, they listened to the voices 
of the fairies and the insects' hum and the 
thousand tiny noises that night always 

One night as they were listening they 
saw a bright light shining in the top of 
the tallest trees. It was a star brighter 
than all the others, and it seemed very 
near the earth. When they went close 
to the tree they found that it was really 
caught in the topmost branches. 

The wise men of the tribe were sum- 
moned and for three nights they sat about 
the council fire, but they came to no con- 
clusion about the beautiful star. At last 



„ ...^ 



"< fe 

The Star Maiden 

one of the young warriors went to them 
and told them that the truth had come to 
him in a dream. 

While asleep the west wind had lifted 
the curtains of his wigwam and the light 
of the star fell full upon him. Suddenly 
a beautiful maiden stood at his side. She 
smiled upon him, and as he gazed speech- 
less she told him that her home was in 
the star and that in wandering over all 
the earth she had seen no land so fair as 
the land of the O jib ways. Its flowers, 
its sweet-voiced birds, its rivers, its beau- 
tiful lakes, the mountains clothed in 
green, these had charmed her, and she 
wished to be no more a wanderer. If they 
would welcome her she would make her 
home among them, and she asked them to 
choose a place in which she might dwell. 

The council were greatly pleased ; but 
they could not agree upon what was best 
to offer the Star Maiden, so they decided 
to ask her to choose for herself. 

She searched first among the flowers of 
the prairie. There she found the fairies' 
ring, where the little spirits danced on 
moonlight nights. ^' Here," thought she, 
'' I will rest." But as she swung herself 
backwards and forwards on the stem of a 
lovely blossom, she heard a terrible noise 





American Indian Tales 

and fled in great fear. A vast herd of 
bnffaloes came and took possession of the 
fairies' ring, where they rolled over one 
another, and bellowed so they could be 
heard far on the trail. No gentle star 
maiden could choose such a resting-place. 

She next sought the mountain rose. It 
was cool and pleasant, the moss was soft 
to her dainty feet, and she could talk to 
the spirits she loved, whose homes were in 
the stars. But the mountain was steep, 
and huge rocks hid from her view the na- 
tion that she loved. 

She was almost in despair, when one 
day as she looked down from the edge of 
the wild rose leaf she saw a white flower 
with a heart of gold shining on the waters 
of the lake below her. As she looked a 
canoe steered by the young warrior who 
had told her wishes to his people, shot 
past, and his strong, brown hand brushed 
the edge of the flower. 

^' That is the home for me," she cried, 
and half-skipping, half -flying down the 
side of the mountain, she quickly made 
her way to the flower and hid herself in 
its bosom. There she could watch the 
stars as well as when she looked upward 
from the cup of the mountain rose ; there 
she could talk to the star spirits, for they 

f^J. v 

The Star Maiden 

bathed in the clear lake ; and best of all, 
there she could watch the people whom ^*\ ^ 
she loved, for their canoes were always '^ 

upon the water. 








1^ ^s 

^ <^'^-* 






HE Prince of tlie Hares 

was playing with his 

children in front of his 

burrow, one day, when, 

growing tired, he threw 

back his ears, drew in 

his feet, and lay down 

to sleep. 

Meanwhile the sun came up and passed 

so close to the earth that it burnt his back 

full of holes. The Hare felt very sore ; 

and as he rubbed himself, his fur came off 

in great patches, so that his beauty was 

spoiled. He was furiously angry, and 

starting up, cried out that he would fight 

the sun ; and in spite of all that his friends 

could say, went at once in pursuit of him. 

The land where the Hare lived was a 

vast plain. When he had come to the 

end of it, he climbed a high hill in order 

to look over the country. He saw below 

him on the other side a field of green 

plumes nodding to the west wind. He 

had never seen corn growing before, and 

did not know what tlie^e plumes were. 

He ran eagerly to the place, broke off 







104 Ameeican Indian Tales 

as many as lie could carry, and hid them 
behind the rocks. Then he rubbed two 
dead branches together and made a fire, 
in which he roasted the corn. 

Presently the owner came along, and 
seeing the damage done, called his war- 
riors to fight the thief. 

The Hare had burrowed a hole at the 
side of the rock, and when the arrows 
were hurled at him, he blew them back 
with his magic breath. The warriors ran 
to catch him, but so great was their haste 
that one rushed upon another, and each 
caught only the other's fists. Then they 
thought of digging him out. They 
worked until the Sun Prince was half 
way home, but before they had caught 
sight of the Hare, he had escaped through 
a secret passage. 

He ran to a rock a little way off and 
higher than the one beneath which they 
were digging, and hurled his magic ball 
at the burrow, breaking away the floor 
and the sides, so that it fell in, burying 
the Chief and all his followers. 

The next morning the Hare saw two 
men making arrowheads of hot rocks. 
He watched them heating the rocks, and 
when they were red hot, he cried out: 
'^ Oho ! hot rocks will not burn me ! " 





The Fighting Hake 

The men looked up, and one 
said : ' ' Are you a wizard ? 

''No," said the Hare, ''but I am a 
better man than you are, or the man who 
is working with you. I will lie on the 
hot rocks, if you will let me hold you on 
them in the same manner. ' ' 

They agreed. So, when the rocks were 
glowing, the Hare laid himself on top of 
them, and the men pressed him down 
against them with their hands. But he 
breathed heavily, and his magic breath so 
cooled the part on which he was lying 
that not a particle of his fur was singed. 

The men having no such protection, 
soon begged for mercy, but the Hare held 
them to their promise and they both per- 
ished. " So much for making one's self 
equal to a wizard, ' ' said the Hare to him- 
self as he continued his journey. 

The following day he passed by a high 
cliff round which the winds blew so hard 
that it was known by the men of that 
country as Hurricane Cliff. It overhung 
a deep ravine in which were sunflowers as 
tall as trees and the heads were heavy 
with seeds. 

The Hare took a handful of seeds and 
amused himself by throwing them into 
the air and catching them in his mouth. 



ii ft 


American Indiaj^ Tales 

WMle doing tMs he heard voices, and 
looking up, saw a group of women who 
were plotting to kill him. 

^'Oho!" they said, '^let ns call the 
hurricane to hurl a rock down on him." 

The Hare said nothing, but went in full 
sight of them and began eating the seeds 
with great relish. The women looked at 
them longingly, and finally asked him to 
share his dainties with them, not know- 
ing what he really had. 

He tossed a handful of seeds into the 
air, and they tried hard to catch them, but 
failed again and again, each time going 
nearer to the edge of the cliff till, in her 
eagerness, the one nearest the edge 
reached out too far and fell into the 
ravine. The others were so close that 
they fell over her ; so all but two were 
dashed to pieces, and these vowed ven- 
geance on the Hare. 

He met them soon afterwards gather- 
ing berries, and called out that he would 
give them the revenge they wished. 
' ' Come, ' ' said he, ' ' you may blow these 
blackberry thorns and leaves into my eyes. 
I will let you try first and if you do not 
blind me you must let me do the same to 

They took him at his word and threw 



The Fighting Hare 107 

a handful of little else than thorns. But 
by breathing as he had done when on the 
hot rocks, he blew them all from him. 

The women trusted to their hands to 
protect them, but the Hare aimed well 
and the thorns passed between their fin- 
gers and put their eyes quite out. 

He had one more adventure with wom- 
en . While passing through a lonely place 
he saw several women weaving jugs of 
willow which they made water-tight by 
smearing them inside with pitch. They, 
too, were planning to destroy him. 

He went boldly up to them and proposed 
that they should put him inside one of 
the jugs. As he could not get into those 
already made they put him into one that 
was not finished and wove the neck of 
the jug about him, making it very small, 
so that he should not escape. 

While they were laughing at the ease 
with which he had been caught he burst 
the jug open and stepped out unhurt. 

He then compelled them to get inside 
of the jugs and to let him weave the necks 
about them. He worked slowly at first 
to make them think that he did not know 
how to weave, but he made the necks 
strong and fastened them well. 

Then he rolled the jugs about till the 

'^^— >,.J'^^r"--^'rf^«'''^' 



i f 


Ameeican Iis^dian Tales 

women were shaken and badly bruised. 
They threatened to be revenged, but when 
he knocked them harder and their blood 
ran out over the ground, they begged him 
to let them out. 

He would not, but, after a time, think- 
ing that they had suffered enough, he 
struck each jug with his magic ball and 
put them out of their misery. 

A tarantula who had watched the Hare 
resolved to punish him by his own meth- 
ods. The spider had a magic club which 
poisoned everything it struck, but never 
injured him. He called to the Hare and 
asked to be struck with the club. 

The Hare raised it and beat him on the 
head and back, but the spider remained 
unhurt. He began to suspect something 
wrong, and just before it was his turn to 
be struck he changed the sjDider's club 
for his magic ball and killed the insect 
with one blow. 

Thus he traveled on, conquering all who 
opposed him or plotted against him, till 
he came to the edge of the world. There 
he saw a high cliff covered with trees of 
all sizes and kinds. He went up to the 
maple and said : ' ' What are you good 
for, pray? " 

The maple shook its leaves in great dis- 



The Fighting Hake 


dain and said : ^ ' I am the food of the 
Great Head. The blood of my children is 
sweet and nourishing, and they give it 
freely to the nations." 

The Hare next went to the larch and 
asked : ' ^ What are yon good for ? ' ' 

'^I," said the larch, ''bind together 
the canoes of the people. If it were not 
for me they could not sail upon the lakes 
and rivers." 

The cedar answered the question by 
saying: ''I make the canoes strong, so 
that they will bear the weight of the 
great warriors. If it were not for me, 
none but women and children could sail 
on the waters." 

The birch stood next in his way and 
said : ' ' If it were not for me you could 
make no canoes at all. My bark is for 
the picture-writing of the people. How, 
but for me, could one Chief talk to his 
brother who lives by the distant river? " 

The fir-tree boasted of its balsam with- 
out which the canoe could not glide upon 
the water. 

' ' Ugh ! ' ' said the Hare. * ' You all say 
that no canoe could be made without you. 
You, Linden, you have no part in these 
canoes ; what are you good for? 

I," said the Linden, ''am for the 






American Indian Tales 





cradles of the children. Without me 
where could they be rocked and put to 
sleep when the beautiful red has gone 
from the sky and the night comes ? From 
me you take the bass wood for your bowls 
and your drinking-cups." 

The Oak stood in his path, and before 
the question was put to it, touched his 
head with its lower branches and said in 
a deep voice : ^ ^ I shelter the great war- 
riors. I mark the spot for their councils. 
From my boughs are made the swift ar- 
rows that bring food to the feet of the 
hunter and carry death to his enemies." 

The Ash sighed and whispered : ' ' From 
me is taken the bow that speeds the arrow 
in its flight." 

The Red Willow drooped its head as it 
said : ^' My bark is for the pipe of the In- 
dian, my wands are to bid him to the 
feast. My osiers are for his baskets, his 
mats and his water- jugs. ' ' 

Thus every tree claimed to be of so 
much use that men could not do without 
it. At last the Hare came to a little tree 
hardly more than a shrub, many of whose 
leaves were blighted. " Of what use are 
you ? ' ' asked he. 

*'None," said the tree, *' unless you 

can use me. 

;;|^:^ ^-h 



" He went to the top of the clifi'and saw the sun just rising." jdiTJ^^ 


% ^^ 

The Fighting Hare 111 

* ' We shall see, we shall see, ' ' said the 

He went to the top of the cliff and saw 
the sun just rising. It caught sight of 
him at the same moment, and knowing 
that he had come for vengeance, it retreated 
quickly into its cave. 

It stayed there three days and all the 
world suffered from cold and darkness. 
At last the noise of the people in their 
discontent reached the sun and he was 
obliged to come out. 

The Hare had his arrows ready and 
aimed many at him, but they fell short of 
their mark. When the sun was directly 
overhead he drew forth a magic arrow, 
which he dipped into a magic tear that 
escaped from his eye. With this he took 
good aim. It struck the sun and broke it 
into thousands of fragments. 

The flying pieces set the whole world on 
fire. It burned the forest, the prairie, 
the villages, the corn and the wild rice, 
the pumpkin vines and the gourds, the 
grapes and the nuts. 

The children of the Hare Prince ran into 
their burrow and the Great Elk led many 
of the other animals into a vast field in the 
Rocky Mountains, around which was 
drawn a sacred line that no fire could cross. 


American Indian Tales 

The fire burnt the cliff at the edge of 
the world. The Hare sought refuge first 
in one tree and then in another ; but they 
were all destroyed except the little one 
that had said it was of no use. It was 
so small that it could not wholly protect 
him. His tail, his back, his feet and the 
tips of his ears were burnt, every part 
of him except his head. 

He rolled over and over trying to get 
relief, but his pain was so great that his 
eyes burst, and the water gushing from 
them put out the fire. 

The sun had been conquered and was 
summoned to appear before the council. 
They found him guilty of cruelty and 
indifference to the welfare of men ; so he 
was compelled to travel the same trail 
day after day for all time and at a fixed 
distance from the earth. Thus he can no 
longer burn trees or animals, nor can he 
leave them in cold and darkness. 







" It formed a small lake." 




ONE WOLF was an In- 
dian, who with his wife 
and ten sons moved 
some distance from 
their tribe and built 
themselves a lodge in 
the forest. The man 
and his wife were both 
old, and when sickness came they had no 
strength to fight it, but died within a few 
moons of each other. The sons were too 
young to live by themselves, and there- 
fore went to the wigwam of their uncle, 
Deep Lake, their mother's brother. He 
gave them food and shelter until the 
elder ones were able to hunt and so pro- 
vide for their brothers. 

One morning several of them started 
out, each going in a different direction. 
The eldest went towards the north, be- 
cause he was better able to travel far and 
to light the fierce animals which lived in 
that region. 

The night came, bright with many stars, 
but he did not return. 

The next morning the second brother 



^ ..-X -.^'t^- 


Ameeican Indian Tales 

set out in the same direction, thinking he 
might find the trail of the other. He 
did not return. Then the third brother 
went in search of those who had dis- 
appeared, and he, too, was seen no more. 

Thus they all followed one another, 
until only the youngest, Little Elk, was 
left with his uncle. He was too small 
and feeble to hope to succeed where his 
brothers had failed ; and Deep Lake for- 
bade him going out alone, for fear the 
witch or giant who had destroyed his 
brothers should do him harm. 

One day while Deep Lake and Little 
Elk were in the woods together they 
heard a deep groan which seemed to come 
from the ground. They searched and 
found a man covered with mold and lying 
under a great log. 

*' Quick," said Deep Lake to his 
nephew, '^ run to the lodge and get the 
bear's oil." 

Little Elk hurried to the wigwam and 
returned with a jar of bear's oil, with 
which he rubbed the man until he became 
conscious and was able to speak. His 
words were very strange, considering that 
he had never seen either of them before. 

'*You," said he, looking at the boy, 
** are Little Elk. You had nine brothers 

r^- «- 

■■*. ■Q.^.^^SS 

^. *M^. 



The Great Head 


who set out towards the barren place 
to hunt, and not one of them ever re- 

The old man began to suspect magic, ' 
and asked, tremblingly ,'' Who are you? " 

* * I, " said the stranger, ' ' am Rotten 
Foot, the brother of the Great Head." 

Deep Lake knew well about the Great 
Head. It was an enormous head without 
any body. It had large eyes that rolled 
about fearfully, and long, coarse hair like 
that of the grizzly bear, and it streamed 
over the huge cleft rock that was his 
home. Seen or unseen, if it caught sight 
of any living thing it would shriek in a 
shrill voice, ^' I see thee, I see thee ; thou 
Shalt die!" 

Deep Lake had been a brave chief, and 
he thought perhaps he could conquer the 
Great Head, or that at least he could 
find out about his nephews, whom he felt 
sure the Head had destroyed, and the 
plan which occurred to him was to be kind 
to the Head's brother, so that he might 
learn more about him. 

He therefore invited Rotten Foot to his 
wigwam, gave him the most comfortable 
seat by the fire, rubbed his stiff limbs 
with bear's oil, and set dainty food be- 


fore him. 





118 American Indian Tales 

When he was warm and well fed, Deep 
Lake began to question him about the 
Head. ' ' Could you bring him here ? ' ' he 
said at last. 

' ' He would not come merely for the 
asking, but I might lure him hither,'* 
was the reply. 

The next day E-otten Foot set out in 
search of his brother. He promised to 
use all his skill and magic, if necessary, to 
bring him to the lodge. ''Have ready 
some blocks of the maple tree for the 
Head's food, in case he should return with 
me," said he, as he set out on his journey. 

He pulled up a hickory tree and made 
arrows of its roots; then he crept cau- 
tiously along until he saw the cleft rock 
in the distance. Fearing that he might 
be seen, he used his magic and crawled in- 
side a mole and told the animal to burrow 
in the ground, so as to hide him. 

It was not long before he heard the 
Head growl, "I see thee, I see thee ; thou 
Shalt die!" 

He looked out and saw that his brother 
was watching an owl, which immediately 
dropped from the tree, its flesh crumbled 
and its bones immediately lay bare. 

Rotten Foot drew out an arrow and 
aimed it at his brother. It was but a 

The Great Head 

small arrow when it started, but it grew 
larger and larger as it neared the Head. 
It did not strike him, but flew back, grow- 
ing smaller and smaller until it was its 
original size, and slipped itself into the 
quiver at Eotten Foot's side. 

Feeling sure that the Head would fol- 
low him, he turned and ran towards Deep 
Lake's wigwam. The ridge that the mole 
made as it passed along completely hid 
him from the view of the Head, who soon 
followed in a roaring tempest. 

Deep Lake heard him tearing through 
the forest, and provided himself and Lit- 
tle Elk with war-clubs in case he should 
attack the wigwam. 

Just as Rotten Foot reached the wig- 
wam and was about to jump out of the 
mole's skin, the Head recognized his 
brother. He was delighted to see him, 
for he had long since supposed him dead. 
He laughed so loudly that the clouds 
were broken and a rainbow appeared 
above the trees. 

On hearing the change in his voice, from 
fierce anger to laughter. Deep Lake and 
Little Elk dropped their clubs and brought 
out the blocks of the maple tree. 

The Head devoured them greedily, and 
when he had finished he told them that 






American Indian Tales 

he liad made up his mind to kill a witch 
who lived towards the north, and who 
destroyed twice as many animals and men 
as he did. " I never kill the brave or the 

innocent, ' ' 

said he; ''but she has no 

mercy, and draws men to their death by 
her sweet songs. They lull the unwary 
hunter as the snow lulls him when he 
staggers and falls in the forest. ' ' 

Deep Lake then said, '' Let me go with 
you, for the witch has slain my nephews, 
nine men, all brothers of this lad." 

''No," said the Head, " I will take the 
boy, and he shall help to avenge their 

They traveled in the night, and early 
in the morning came in sight of the 
witch's lodge. It was a cave filled with 
dead men's bones. Their fingers hung 
from the roof, their scalps were heaped 
together for her couch, their skulls were 
her bowls and kettles. 

She sat rocking herself to and fro, sing- 
ing a low, sweet song, the notes of which 
made all who heard it turn cold and shiver 
till all their flesh was shaken off them 
and they became nothing but dry bones. 

The Head had told Little Elk to put 
two clover blossoms into his ears so that 
he could not hear her. When they were 

t /°) 


The Great Head 

near her lodge he said to the lad : ^' I will 
ask her the question, ^ How long have you 
been here?' This will break the charm 
of her song upon me, but you will see the 
hair fall from my head. You must put 
it back as fast as it comes out and it will 
grow at once and very long ; then I will 
jump upon her and bite her. You must 
take the pieces of flesh from my mouth 
and throw them from you, saying, * Be a 
fox, a bird,' or anything you choose, so 
they will run off and never return." 

As they crept up to the cave, the Head 
shouted, ^^How long have you been 

His hair began to fall out in long, thick 
locks, which Little Elk at once replaced. 
The Head then jumped upon the witch, 
and she screamed and begged for mercy ; 
but he answered, ^' You had no mercy on 
others ; you must die ! ' ' 

He bit her and killed her, and all the 
plain was covered with animals and the 
river was filled with fish from the pieces 
of her body. To make sure of her never 
coming to life again, they burned her 
bones and scattered them on the river. 

Then the Head told Little Elk to search 
for the year-old bones, which would be 
whiter than the others, and lay them 


together. ^ ^ JSTow, ' ' said lie, * ' I am going 
home, and as I go I will raise a tempest 
that will strike into the mouth of this 
cave. As it touches the bones, you must 
say, ^ All arise.' " 

Little Elk had just laid down the last 
bone when he heard the wind rising in 
the forest. As it blew into the cave he 
called loudly, ' ' All arise ! ' ' 

The bones stood up and were immedi- 
ately covered with llesh. The brothers 
recognized one another, and one and all 
praised Little Elk for his courage and his 
patience. Then they vanished down the 
trail in the forest. 



1 "Tgygateaeaaa.,^ 







>^ YS, 

'^ ®)^ 



^cf^» / 






great magician of the 
Ottawas, wlio lived on 
the shores of Lake Hu- 
ron. His wigwam was 
of skin that had been 
scrubbed and bleached 
until it shone like snow 
when the sun falls upon it ; and it could 
be seen at a great distance. From the 
lodge pole downwards it was covered with 
paintings, some done by the magician and 
others by his friends, each telling a won- 
derful tale of his magic. 

His couch was of white buffalo skins, 
which are very rare and precious. His 
pipes were the admiration of all who saw 
them, for they were ornamented with red 
feathers from the breast of the robin, 
blue from the jay, purple from the neck 
of the pigeon, and green from the throat 
of the drake. His moccasins of rabbit 
skin, dyed scarlet, were the softest that 
could be made. They were worked with 










Ameeican Indian Tales 


beads brought by a messenger from a far- 
distant tribe, who had received them from 
the Pale -faces that came across the Big 
Salt Lake. But the most wonderful 
thing about these moccasins was that 
they were magic shoes ; for every stride 
he took in them carried him over a mile 
of ground. 

His flute was a reed cut in the swamp 
forest. When he blew a loud note upon 
it the distant rocks answered him, and 
the little vanishing men who danced in 
the moonlight, took up the music and 
laughed it back to him. When he 
breathed softly upon it no Indian heard 
him ; for the sound went straight into the 
heart of the flowers. The fairies hearing 
it crept forth and balanced themselves on 
the petals of the flowers that they might 
hear the better. 

The magician's sister, Sweet Strawberry, 
whose fawn -skin robe may be seen in the 
moon on bright nights, sometimes rested 
on the topmost branches of the tall trees 
to listen. She had once lived with him, 
but the Moon Prince had taken her to be 
his bride, and all the tribe mourned for 
her as for one dead. 

Living Statue talked with the birds and 
the squirrels, who laid down and died 



Adventures of Living Statue 127 


and rolled out of their skins when he 
asked for them. He was the friend of all 
the rabbits, who were proud to have him 
eat them. When he had finished the 
meal, he read the story of the animal's 
life in its bones, and if it had been good 
in its time he stroked its skin and it came 
to life again, and could nevermore be 

One day, as Living Statue was walking 
across the plain near the edge of the for- 
est, he met a little man no higher than 
his knee. The dwarf was dressed all in 
green, and wore a green cap with a red 
plume in it. 

« ^ Fight me, fight me, ' ' said the dwarf, 
placing himself directly in front of the 

Living Statue tried to kick him out of 
his path. Thereupon his foot began to 
swell so that he could hardly move. 

^* Fight me, fight me," said the dwarf, 
who again danced in front of him. 

Living Statue stooped and took hold of 
him, intending to throw him to one side, 
but he found the dwarf too strong for 
him. He strove in vain to lift him, so he 
wrestled with him till his arms were 
tired ; but the dwarf was not overcome. 
At last, by a great effort he pushed him 




A:merican Indiais" Tales 

from him, tlien rushed at him with all 
his might and succeeded in throwing him 
to the ground. He sprang quickly u]3on 
him, and taking out his knife prepared to 
scalp him. 

'' Hold, hold," said the dwarf; '' I see 
the Ottawa magician is a brave warrior, 
as well as a great wizard. He has fought 
and conquered me, though not by magic. 
I will show him greater magic than any 
he has ever known." 

When he had done speaking he threw 
himself backwards and was changed into 
a crooked ear of corn, which rolled over 
and lay at the magician's feet. 

' ' Take me, ' ' said the ear ; ^ ' tear off 
the wrapper that is drawn so tightly 
about me and leave nothing to hide my 
body from your eyes. Then pull my 
body to i^ieces, taking all the flesh from 
the bones and throw the flesh ux)on differ- 
ent parts of the plain. Cover me with 
earth that the ravens may not feast upon 
me. My spine you shall break in pieces 
no larger than your thumb and shall scat- 
ter them near the edge of the forest. Go 
back to your village when you have done 
this and return to this place after one 

Living Statue did exactly what the 




Adventuees of Living Statue 129 

dwarf had told liim to do, but he said 
nothing to the Ottawas about his adven- 
ture. It was not for them to understand 
magic; they might try to do what he 
alone understood and the spirits would 
be offended. 

When the hot moon had come Living 
Statue went back to the plain where he 
had wrestled with the dwarf, and there he 
saw a field of long, green plumes waving 
in the sunlight. They were smooth and ^ 

glossy and dropped almost to the ground. 
In color they were like the robe of the 
dwarf, only bright and shining. 

While he was looking and wondering, 
the dwarf suddenly sprang out of the 
broadest stalk and said, ' ' You have done 
well. Let one moon pass and another 
appear before you come again. Then 
you will find a new food for the Ottawas, 
better than the wild rice, sweet as the 
blood of the maple, and strength -giving 
as the flesh of the deer. ' ' 

At the time appointed. Living Statue 
went again to the sjjot and there he found 
the gift of the corn. He brought his tribe 
to witness, and to gather it. Then he 
and three other magicians painted their 
bodies with white clay and danced round 
the kettle in which it was being prepared, 


Ameeican Indian Tales 

which done, they took out the ears and 
burnt them as a sacrifice. They then put 
out the fire and lighted a fresh one, with 
which they cooked *Hhe spirits' berry" 
for themselves. 

One night when Living Statue lay 
asleep, he heard the curtain of his tent flap, 
and presently two dwarfs entered and 
crept up to his couch. One climbed upon 
his legs and sat astride them ; the other 
mounted to his breast and began feeling 
his throat. 

^^ Choke him! choke him!" said the 
dwarf at his feet. 

^' I can't; my hands are too small and 
weak, ' ' said the other. 

''Pull his heart out! Pull his heart 
out ! ' ' said the first. 

The second dwarf began pounding and 
tugging at the breast of the sleeper. At 
this the one astride his legs gave his com- 
panion a vicious kick, and said in a hoarse 
whisper, ' ' You stupid ! pull it out through 
his mouth." 

So the dwarf forced open the teeth of 
Living Statue and thrust his fingers far 
down his throat. Now, this was just what 
the magician thought he would do; so 
when the fingers were inside his mouth, 
he shut his teeth together quickly and bit 














Adventures of Living Statue 131 

them off. Then, slowly raising himself, 
he threw the dwarf who was on his legs, 
clear to the door of the wigwam. 

* ' Oh ! oh ! " cried the one whose hand 
was bitten, and he howled like a dog. 
' ' Oh ! oh ! " cried the other, and he 
howled like a wolf as the two disappeared 
in the darkness. 

The magician kept very still, then crept 
to the door, raised the curtain and put his 
head outside to listen, so that he might 
know in what direction they went. He 
heard them hurrying through the forest 
towards the lake. There was a soft splash, 
as of water when a canoe bends to it be- 
neath the weight of a man, and all was 

In the morning Living Statue found 
that the fingers he had bitten off were 
long wampum beads, greatly prized by 
the Indians, and so valuable that they 
made him very rich. He had no trouble 
in following the trail of the dwarfs, for it 
was marked by drops of blood that were 
changed into wampum beads. He had 
enough to make a coat, a cap and leg- 
gings, so that ever after he was known to 
all nations as the Prince of Wampum. 

When he reached the lake he saw a 
stone canoe which was four times the 




ar^aii&«----2^>:.«:si'; ' 







American Indian Tales 

length of his prow and white as the waves 
when the strong wind races with them to 
the shore. Two men were seated in it, 
one at the bow and the other in the stern. 
They were bolt npright, with their hands 
upon their knees, and did not look to- 
wards him. On going closer he saw that 
they were the dwarfs turned into stone. 
The boat was filled with sacks of bear skin, 
in which was treasure such as the ma- 
gician had never before seen or imagined. 

As he was about to take some of it 
away, the dwarf whose fingers he had 
bitten off, spoke to him and said : ^ ' In 
this manner the canoes of your people 
shall be loaded as they go past these 
shores, and no enemy shall be able to rob 

The magician took the statues to his 
wigwam and afterwards they were set up 
in the sacred lodge of the tribe, the white 
canoe being placed between them. 

Many chiefs wished to give the Prince 
of Wampum their daughters in marriage, 
but he chose a star maiden, and they 
went to live in the fields of the sky, near 
the white, misty road of the dead. 




% ^^ 

" Near the white, misty roaxi of the dead." 











widow with two chil- 
dren — Yellow-bird, a 
girl eleven years of 
age, and Sage-cock, a 
baby boy. The girl 
was big, awkward and 
stupid; but the boy, 
though only a baby, gave signs of being a 
remarkably bright child. 

Turtle-dove was always anxious about 
him, for an old witch who lived in that 
part of the country stole every little boy 
that she could find. 

One day Turtle-dove went down to the 
valley to gather seeds and herbs. She 
carried her baby on her back, but he was 
heavy, and after a time she grew tired 
from the weight and constant stooping. 
So she took the baby and laid him under 
a sage-brush, telling his sister to watch 

Presently the old witcji came that way, 
and going up to the bundle, felt it all over, 
and asked Yellow-bird what it contained. 




American Indian Tales 

'^It is my sister," said slie, for she 
tliought the witch would not want to steal 
a girl. 

Then the old witch scolded her, grow- 
ing more and more loud and angry in her 
speech and manner until her eyes stood 
out, glaring at the girl, and her grizzled 
locks rattled like the naked branches of 
the trees. Yellow-bird grew cold as ice 
and could not even scream, she was so 

The old witch, seeing that she was not 
likely to be attacked, seized the little 
pappoose and flew away with him on her 
bat-like wings to the distant mountain, 
which no man can climb by reason of the 
rattlesnake forest at its base. 

When she reached her den, which was 
a hollow place black with cinders and 
hidden from sight by a clump of hemlock 
trees, she laid the boy on the ground, 
broke the strips of deer skin that held 
his fur blanket over him and stretched 
his legs till he became a man. 

'^ Now," said she, ''I shall have a hus- 

Although Sage-cock had suddenly 
grown to a man's size, he had only a 
baby's heart and knew no better than 
to marry an ugly old witch. 



.<!^ «"'•-"> 


1 :y-' 



Sage-Cock and the Witch 

When Turtle-dove returned and heard 
Yellow-bird's story she was very angry 
and would not forgive the girl for not 
calling her. She spent day after day 
searching among the rocks and wherever 
a wild beast or a witch might have a 
hiding-place. She left no clump of bush- 
es, however small, unexplored, but all to 
no purpose. At last she went to her 
brother, the Eagle, and told him her 

Eagle was keen of sight and a swift 
hunter. He put on his war feathers and 
his war paint and set out in search of the 

boy. . 

One day he heard a baby crying, but 
he did not recognize its voice. He told 
his sister, and she begged him to take her 
to the place, for she felt sure that she 
would know the child's voice and he 
would know hers. 

They went towards the witch's moun- 
tain. Before they reached it they heard 
the child cry ; but did not know how to 
get to him because of the rattlesnake 

Eagle thought he would try his magic, 
for he was one of the wizards of the 
tribe. He took two feathers from his 
head dress and spread them out into 






American Indian Tales 

wings, wMch he fastened upon his 
shoulders. He then placed Turtle Dove 
on his back and flew with her over the 
forest oi rttlesnakes. 

He hid i some bushes while the mother 
called, ^^ Sage-cock, Sage-cock." 

The child cried and strove to get out of 
the den. He did struggle through the 
bushes, but the witch caught him. Then 
with one blow of her stick she killed a 
mountain sheep near by, and taking the 
boy in her arms, jumped into its stomach. 
She pulled the wool about them and lay 
very still. 

Meanwhile Eagle killed a rabbit and 
put it on the top of a tall pine tree, then 
peeled the bark so that it would be hard 
to climb. They watched for days but 
with no success. 

At last the old woman grew hungry, 
and Sage-cock cried for food. So she 
crept out, and seeing the rabbit, tried to 
get it. 

When Eagle saw her he knew that the 
baby could not be far off. He stretched 
himself full length on the ground and 
listened, with his ear to the earth. 

First he heard a faint cry which seemed 
to come from the sheep, then, as he went 
nearer, he heard the boy's heart thump- 


Sage-Cock and the Witch 139 

ing and knew just where to go. He found 
the baby, caught him up in his arms and 
ran quickly with him down to thf r^ge of 
the rattlesnake forest. 

Knowing the old witch wou^d follow 
him, he raised a great snow-storm, that 
covered all his tracks, so that she should 
not know in what direction he had gone. 

But in his haste he dropped two eagle's 
feathers, and the witch knew at once who 
had stolen her husband. She went to her 
brother, one of the chiefs of the rattle- 
snakes, and asked him to take her part. 
He hated her, for she was always getting 
him into trouble ; but she was his sister, 
and he could not refuse. 

Just then. Eagle's war-whoop was 
heard ; and, having no place in which to 
hide her, he opened his mouth, and let 
her jump down his throat. She would 
not be still and bothered him so much that 
after Eagle had passed he tried to throw 
her off. But he could not rid himself of 
her, and at last he wrenched himself so 
hard that he jumped out of his own 

The witch still lives in itand rolls about 
among the rocks to this day, mocking all 
who pass, though no one can ever lay hold 
of her. The Pale-faces call her Echo. 




f^ f*o< 



^a f. 

140 Ameeican Indiat^ Tales 

Sage-cock became a little boy again and ^' 
grew to be a mighty chief, succeeding Ms 
uncle, the Eagle, as a warrior and magic- 


^'i-rj^'"^* ",., 

,;t ^ 








\ i^'^ 






IG Wave and his little 
nephew, Ked Shell, 
lived together in a deep 
forest. The boy was 
the only relative that 
the old man had, and 
he was very fond of 
him. He had brought 
Red Shell and his sister, Wild Sage, to 
his home some years before, just after the 
great plague had killed most of his tribe, 
among them the father and mother of the 
children. But they had not been many 
months in the forest before Wild Sage 
was stolen by a giant who lived on the 
Island of Skeletons. 

Big Wave warned the boy never to go 
towards the east ; for, if by any chance, 
he should cross a certain magic line of 
sacred meal that Big Wave had drawn, 
he would be at the mercy of the giant. 

The boy obeyed for a time ; but by and 
by he grew tired of playing in one place, 
so he went towards the east, not noticing 
when he crossed the magic line, till he 
came to the shore of a great lake. 



American Indian Tales 

He amused himself for a while, throw- 
ing pebbles into the water, and shooting 
arrows. A man came up to him, and 
said, *' Well, boy, where is your lodge? " 

Red Shell told him. Then the man 
proposed shooting arrows to see who 
could shoot the higher. Red Shell had 
had much practice, and though he was 
only a boy, his arm was strong, and he 
drew the bow far back and sent the arrow 
much higher than the man did. 

The man laughed and said, ' ' You are 
a brave boy ; now let us see whether you 
can swim as well as you can shoot. ' ' 

They jumped into the water and tried 
holding their breath while swimming. 
Again the boy proved himself the 

When they were again on land, the 
man said to him, ' ' Will you go with me 
in my canoe? I am on my way to an 
island where there are pretty birds, and 
you can shoot as many as you please. ' ' 

Red Shell said he would go, and looked 
about for a canoe. The man began sing- 
ing, and presently there appeared a canoe 
drawn by six white swans, three on either 
side. The boy and his companion stepped 
in and the man guided the swans by 







Av r . -, 

The Island of Skeletons 145 

The island was so long that lie could 
not see tlie end of it, but it was not very- 
wide. It was thickly wooded and there 
was so much undergrowth that the ground 
could hardly be seen, but Red Shell no- 
ticed heaps of bones under the bushes, 
and asked what they were. He was told 
that the island had once been a famous 
hunting-ground and these were the bones 
of the animals that had been killed. 

After wandering about for some time, 
the man proposed another swim. They 
had been in the water but a few minutes 
when the boy heard singing, and looking 
around he saw the man going off in the 
canoe and taking his own and Red Shell's 
clothes with him. He shouted, but 
neither the man nor the birds paid any 
attention to him. 

Thus he was left alone and naked, and 
it was fast growing dark. Then he re- 
membered his uncle's warnings, and was 
so miserable from cold, hunger and fear, 
that at last he sat down and cried. 

By-and-by he heard a voice calling to 
him, "Hist! keep still." 

He looked round and saw a skeleton 
lying on the ground not far from him. 
It beckoned to him and said, ' ' Poor boy, 
it was the same with me, but I will help 


/4^' ~"^ 




146 American Indian Tales 

you if you will do me a service. Go to 
that tree ' ' (j)oirLting to one close by) ' ' dig 
on the west side of it, and you will find a 
pouch of smoking mixture and a pipe. 
Bring them to me. You can get a flint 
on the shore. Bring that also. " 

The boy was terribly frightened, but 
the skeleton spoke kindly, and not as 
though he meant to do harm. Red Shell 
therefore went to the tree, and brought 
the pipe and smoking mixture. Then he 
found a flint and on being asked to do 
so struck fire, lit the pipe and handed 
the same to the skeleton. 

It smoked quickly, drawing the smoke 
into the mouth and letting it escape be- 
tween the ribs. Red Shell watched and 
saw mice run out from between the 
bones. When the skeleton was rid of 
them it said : ' ' Now I feel better, and 
can tell you what to do to escape my fate. 
A giant is coming to-night with three 
dogs, to hunt you and kill you for his 
supper. You must lose the trail for them 
by jumping into the water many times on 
your way to a hollow tree, which you will 
find on the other side of the island. In 
the morning after they have gone, come 
to me." 

Red Shell thanked the skeleton and 







The Island of Skeletons 147 

started at once to find the tree. It was 
quite dark, so lie could see nothing, but 
he ran from tree to tree, climbing half- 
way up each one, and running into the 
water many times before he found the 
place where he had been told to sleep. 

Towards morning he heard the splash 
of a canoe in the water, and soon a giant 
followed by three large dogs, strode into 
the forest. 

"You must hunt this animal," the 
giant said to the dogs. 

They scented the trail and dashed 
through the bushes. They rushed up 
one tree and then another, and at last 
came back to the giant with their tails 
between their legs, for they had found 

He was so angry that he struck the fore- 
most animal with his war-club and killed 
it on the spot. He skinned it and ate it 
raw. Then he drove the two others down 
to the canoe, jumped in and went away. 

When they were out of sight of the 
island. Red Shell crept from his hiding 
place and went back to the skeleton. 

''You are still alive? "^ it asked in sur- 
prise. " You are a brave boy. To-night 
the man who brought you here will come 
to drink your blood. You must go 



Amekican Indian Tales 

down to the sliore before tlie darkness 
conies and dig a pit in the sand. Lie 
down in it and cover yourself with sand. 
When he leaves his canoe, get into it and 
say 'Come swans, let us go home.' If 
the man calls you, you must not turn 
round or look at him. When you are 
free, do not forget the skeleton." 

Red Shell promised to come back to 
the island and to do all that he could for 
the poor bones. He went down to the 
shore and dug the pit deep enough so 
that when he stood in it his head was on 
a level with the water. When he heard 
the song in the distance he knew the 
swans were coming; so he covered his 
head with sand and waited till he heard 
a footstep on the dry leaves. 

Then he crept out stealthily, stepped 
into the canoe and whispered to the 
swans, "Come, let us go home." He 
began the song that he had heard their 
master sing to them, and the canoe glided 
from the shore. 

The swans carried him down the lake 
to a large cleft rock in the center. They 
drew the canoe through the opening and 
through the cave till they came to a 
stone door. Eed Shell tried to open it, 
but could not. Then he turned the canoe 


Hf-C %AA^...^,i^ lt^f~ 

" Whispered to the Swans, ' Come, let us go home.' " 

The Island of Skeletons 149 

The door 

struck tlie door with 

open and Red Shell 


found himself in a line lodge. He saw 
his own clothes and many others heaped 
in a corner near the fire which was burn- 
ing brightly. A kettle of soup was 
steaming over it and there were some 
potatoes in the ashes on the hearth. 

Seeing no one, the boy ate supper and 
then lay down to sleep on a couch of 
wild-cat skins. 

In the morning he went out and step- 
ping into the canoe, said, " Come, swans, 
let us go to the island." 

He saw the two dogs lying asleep in 
the sun and, on landing, found that the 
had killed their master. 

The skeleton was delighted to see him 
and praised him for his courage and for 
being true to his word. But he said to 
him, "You must not go home yet. 
Travel toward the east three days and 
you will come to some huge rocks. There 
you will see a young girl drawing water 
from a spring. She is your sister. Wild 
Sage, whom the giant ^tole many moons 
since, and whom you believed dead. You 
will be able to get her away. When you 
■'^ have done so, come back to me."" 

150 Ameeican Indian Tales 


Red Shell at once set out for the east 
and in three days he found the rocks of 
which he had been told. As he came 
near them he saw a lovely girl drawing 
water. ''Sister," he said, going up to 
her, " yon must come home with me." 

She was frightened and tried to run 
away. Looking back, she saw that it 
was really her brother, when she was 
even more afraid, though she turned and 
spoke to him. "Hist," said she, ''a 
giant keeps me here. Go before he sees 
you or he will kill you." 

Red Shell did not move. 

"Go," said Wild Sage. 

"No," he answered, "not till you go 
with me. Take me to your lodge. ' ' 

The giant had gone to a cranberry 
swamp, and Wild Sage knew that he 
would not return until the evening; so 
she ventured to take her brother home 
with her. She dug a pit in one corner of 
the lodge, told him to get into it, and 
then covered it with her bed of buffalo 

Just before the darkness came the 
giant's dogs rushed in, barking furiously. 

"Who?" said the giant, "is hidden 
here ? ' ' 

"No one," said Wild Sage. 



The Island of Skeletons 151 

''There is, there is," said the giant, 
*'or the dogs would not bark like that." 

They did not discover Red Shell, how- 
ever, so the giant sat down to his supper. 

''This boy is not tender, he is not 
cooked enough, get up and cook him 
more," said the giant. 

"Cook it yourself, if it doesn't suit 
you," she answered. 

The giant took no notice of her an- 
swer, but called to her to come and take 
off his moccasins. 

"Take them off yourself," she said. 

"Kaw," thought the giant, "now I 
know she has some one hidden. I will 
kill him in the morning. ' ' 

Early the next day the giant said he 
was going to the cranberry swamp to get 
some children for his dinner. He did not 
go far from the lodge, but hid himself in 
some bushes close to the shore. 

He saw Wild Sage and her brother get 
into a canoe, and threw a hook after 
them, which caught the boat and drew it 
towards the shore. But Red Shell took 
up a stone and broke the hook, and they 
floated off once more. 

The giant was in a terrible rage. He 
lay down flat on the ground, and, putting 
his mouth to the water, drank so fast 


American Indian Tales 

tliat the canoe was drawn close to the 
shore He began to swell from drinking 
such a quantity, and could not move. Red 
Shell took another stone and threw it at 
him. It struck him and he snapped in 
two, and the water he had swallowed 
flowed back into the lake. 

Red Shell and his sister then sailed to 
the island, where the two dogs who had 
eaten their master rushed down to meet 
them. The boy raised his hand threaten- 
ingly, and said: ''Off to the woods as 
wolves. You no longer deserve to be 

The animals slunk away growling, and 
as they disappeared were seen to change 
into lean and hungry wolves. 

Red Shell went to the skeleton, who 
commanded him to gather all the bones 
that he could find on the island and to 
lay them side by side in one place. Then 
he was to say to them, ' ' Dead folk, 
arise ! ' ' 

It took him and his sister many days, 
for there were bones everywhere. When 
all had been arranged in one place. Red 
Shell stood off at a little distance and 
called loudly, "Dead folk, arise ! " The 
bones raised themselves and took human 
form. All the men had bows and ar- 

The Island of Skeletons 153 

rows, but some had only one arm, an(J 
others only one leg. The skeleton 
whom Red Shell had first met became a 
tall, handsome warrior, perfect in every 
limb. He saluted Red Shell as Chief, 
and the others did the same. 

Then the boy and his sister crossed the 
lake and traveled westward till they 
came to their uncles' lodge. He was 
very old, his fire was out and he was 
still mourning for his nephew. But as 
he listened to the story of the lad's ad- 
ventures, and realized that he had come 
back unhurt, some of his years left him. 

They built a long lodge with many 
fireplaces; then Red Shell returned to 
the island and brought back those who 
had been skeletons. The handsome brave, 
who was known as White Eagle, married 
Wild Sage, and they all dwelt together 
in peace to the end of their lives. 








TONE- SHIRT was a ter- 
rible giant who wore a 
sMrt of shells so fas- 
tened that no arrow 
could pierce it. He 
lived with his three 
daughters on the shore 
of the Big Sea Water. 
His daughters were not bad or hard- 
hearted, but they were forced to do all 
sorts of evil to protect their father. They 
had magic arrows which went wherever 
they wished and found their way straight 
to the hearts of their enemies, though shot 
without aim. 

Stone-shirt, while out hunting one day, 
saw a beautiful woman gathering flags. 
''Who are you? " said he to her. 

She was afraid of him, and said ' ' I am 


:^ ''You are not," roared the giant, 

Jiwi^"you are Mouse, the wife of the Crane. 

j?^ I will kill him and^ you shall live with 

\V^T- j^Q YiAW your child before I return or I 

will dash him to pieces before your 

eyes *" 



158 American Indian Tales 

Mouse picked up tlie boy, and as soon 
as the giant was out of sight she ran 
quickly with it to its grandmother's. 
Then she went back and smeared the 
stones with the blood of some fresh bear's 
meat which she threw into the lake. 

She could not warn her husband, for 
he had gone hunting soon after sunrise, 
and she did not know which way he went 
or when he would be likely to return. 
Search as she might there was no escape. 

The giant was not long gone, and when 
he returned he carried the scalp of the 
Crane, whom he had met on the way back 
to his wigwam. Seizing Mouse by the 
hair, he shook the scalp in her face, and 
then dragged her through the forest. 

The deer had shed his horns many 
times when the baby boy, now grown to 
be a fine lad, went with his grandmother 
to dig flag-roots. They took a sharp flint 
knife with which to cut the ground, for 
the roots are hard to pull. 

When they had been some time in the 
swamp, they found that the roots came 
up easily and then more easily till at last 
they had only to take hold of a flag to 
have it at once loosened from the earth. 
The old woman said, ' ' Surely something 
strange is going to happen. Let us go 

Stone- Shirt and the One-Two 159 

home, I do not care to dig any more to- 

The boy took an armful of flags to the 
place where he had put the others, but 
the pile was gone. He called to his 
grandmother and asked her if she had 
moved the roots. 

* ' No, my child, ' ' said she, ' ' perhaps 
some giant has stolen them, let us go 

The boy looked around and soon spied a 
man sitting under a tree not far off. He felt 
sure it was he who had stolen the flags, 
and taking up some small stones, threw 
them at him, calling him, ' ' Thief, coward. ' ' 

The man did not move. At last a stone 
larger than the others struck his leg and 
broke it. He lifted up the leg, bound it 
tightly with a strip torn from his coat and 
again sat down under the tree. Then he 
beckoned to the boy, and pointing to some 
bones in front of him, asked : ' ' What 
bones are these ? ' ' 

The boy answered promptly, ''Elk or 

''No," said the man," these are the 
bones of your father. Has not the old 
woman told you how he was killed by 
Stone-shirt and his bones left to rot like 
those of the wolf?" 





160 American Indian Tales 

'' No," said the boy. 

'' Has she not told you of your mother 

whom Stone-shirt carried off?" 

' No, ' ' said the lad again ; but the man 
saw he would fight the giant, so he said 
no more, but disappeared as suddenly as 
he had come. 

The boy went back to his grandmother 
and told her what he had heard. She 
knew at once that he must have seen a 
spirit. When the boy blamed her for 
keeping the story of his father's death a 
secret, she cried and said, "You are my 
only hope. If you go to fight Stone-shirt, 
he will kill you and I shall be alone. ' ' 

The boy made no answer, but went and 
lay down on his couch of skins, for he 
felt a heavy sleep coming over him. He 
slept three days and three nights. When 
he awoke he refused food and said : ' ' I 
am going to all nations to enlist warriors 
in my cause," and passed out of the wig- 

The boy was tall and well-formed, and 
while he slept he had taken on the face 
of a young man. He traveled many 
moons, and wherever he went the chiefs 
listened to him, and the young men of 
the different tribes took up their bows 
and arrows and declared themselves ready 

r^c^cif cxaoobo «»onp««0^pOMaqBcii**orv^ -' -^^ o ",> "^ * 



" Instead of one handsome young warrior, there were two. 


Stone-Shirt and the One-Two 161 

Among tliem were two 
Wolf and the Rattle- 

to follow him. 
magicians, the 

These two went with him some dis- 
tance, and the three entered his grand- 
mother's wigwam. After they had eaten 
a meal which the old woman gladly pre- 
pared for them, the young man took a 
stone axe and handing it to her asked 
her to cut him in two. 

She refused, but he persisted, and at 
last commanded her to do as he said, and 
in such a tone that she dared not dis- 

She struck the blow tremblingly, hit- 
ting the red deer's tail that he wore, when 
lo 1 each half of his body took form, and 
instead of one handsome young warrior, 
there were two who were so much alike 
that one could not be distinguished from 
the other. 

The One-Two, as they called themselves, 
went out to meet the people who were 
now advancing through the forest. The 
number of them was so great that it was 
a day's march from the foremost men to 
those at the end of the trail. 

Their way lay through a barren place, 
and they traveled all day without seeing 
trees or water. The next morning they 




162 American Indian Tales 

began to grumble, for they suffered from 
tMrst. As tlie day wore on tliey grum- 
bled more and more and began to threaten 
the One-Two, though no one had been 
compelled to follow. 

The Rattlesnake, who had much wis- 
dom, said, * ' One-Two, now is the time to 
bring out your magic cup." 

This cup was a large bowl of polished 
bass-wood. It could be held in the hand, 
and yet when one looked inside it one 
could not see the bottom. One-Two had 
received it from a magician when he first 
set out on his journey. He had sealed it 
as he had been told, with a water-lily leaf 
and the balsam of the fir, and kept it to 
use when in great distress. 

The brothers consulted together and 
decided to take the Rattlesnake's advice. 
They handed the cup from one to an- 
other. As soon as one had taken all that 
he wanted, even to what might have been 
half that it held, the cup was full again. 
But before it could be passed to the 
"Wolf he was dead. 

Then the people grumbled again, 
for the Wolf was brave and gave 
them courage. The brothers paid no 
attention to the complaints; but one 
held the cup while the other took some 





Stone-Shirt and the One-Two 163 

water from it and with it lie sprinkled 
the Wolf. 

Wolf arose and cried : ^ 'Why did you 
disturb me? I was having such pleasant 

They gave him the cup and he drank 
all that there was in it ; but when he 
handed it to the brothers it did not refill. 

They had brought but little food with 
them, and no animals crossed their path 
in the barren place ; so they were hungry, 
and on the third day began again to 
grumble and to accuse the brothers. 

The One-Two said nothing, but to- 
wards evening they said to the Wolf, 
who was keen of sight and of scent, "Is 
not that an antelope in the distance?" 

''Yes," said the Wolf, " but it is the 
goat with many eyes, the watchman of 
Stone-shirt. Nevertheless I will go and 
kill it." 

Then the Rattlesnake said, "Let me 
go, for the antelope will see you and will 
run away." 

But the One-Two sent the Wolf, for 
they knew him to be the braver. He 
started at once, going' in and out so as to 
hide in the bushes. 

After he had gone, the Rattlesnake said 
to the brothers, " Do you see me?" 

. w^ 

164 Ameeican IiN^DiAN Tales 

' ' No, ' ' was the answer, and they be- 
gan to search for him. They looked in 
vain till the Rattlesnake chose to show 
himself, although they were standing in 
an open space where there was no place 
for him to hide. 

The Rattlesnake again asked to be al- 
lowed to hunt the antelope. The brothers 
told him he might go, and in a few hours 
he returned with the game on his shoul- 

The Wolf saw him as he passed, and at 
first was very angry, but afterwards he 
said to himself, "What does it matter, 
so long as the people get food?" 
^:2^^^ Again they were without water ; so the 
;>^ - One-Two changed themselves into doves, 
took the magic cup and flew with it to- 
wards the lodge of Stone -shirt, which they 
knew was on the edge of a lake. 

The daughters of Stone- shirt bathed in 
the lake every morning ; and having been 
annoyed by birds peeping at them from 
the bushes, they set a snare for them. 

The One-Two, knowing nothing of this, 
were caught, and the maidens carried 
them to a lodge. Stone-shirt looked at 
them with suspicion, for he knew no 
such birds lived thereabouts, and he 
feared they were spies. His daugh- 

Stone-Shirt and the One-Two 165 

ters, however, persuaded him not to kill 
them. They stroked them and fed them 
and in the morning let them fly away. 

The brothers went back to the bushes 
where they had dropped the cup, filled it 
and flew with it to their camp. 

The next day they ventured near 
Stone -shirt's lodge in their natural form. 
This time they saw their mother. She 
did not believe their story at first, for she 
had left only one child. But when they 
explained how everything had happened, 
she begged them not to fight Stone- shirt, 
and told them about his armor and his 
daughters' arrows. 

But they could not be persuaded. 
They told her they would surely fight the 
giant the next day, and warned her not to 
go down to the lake for fear she might be 
hit by a stray arrow. 

That night the One-Two disguised 
themselves as mice and crept into the 
wigwam of Stone-shirt, where they nib- 
bled the strings of all his bows. The 
Rattlesnake went with them and hid him- 
self behind a rock on which Stone-shirt 
sat every morning. ^ 

When the giant appeared as usual, the 
Rattlesnake bit him. He leaped high in ^ 
the air and exclaimed, ' ' We are betrayed ! " • 



166 American Indian Tales 

His daughters seized their bows and 
arrows, but found them useless, as the 
strings had been gnawed. 

The cry of Stone-shirt had roused the 
warriors who, having advanced in the 
night, were lying in ambush near his 
lodge. They let fly a shower of arrows 
and then rushed from their hiding-place. 

Both the maidens were struck; and 
waving their hands to their enemies to 
fall back, they sang a death-song and fell 
dead across the path that led to the lodge. 

One-Two were very sorry, for the maid- 
ens had been kind to them. They buried 
them with great mourning; but the 
bones of Stone-shirt were left to rot as he 
had left those of their father, the Crane. 







: '^ 









the West- wind, was a 
giant in size and his 
face was as black as 
the feathers of the 
crow. His hair was of 
twisted snakes, gray, 
black and spotted, with 
an adder raising its copper- colored head 
for his crown, while a rattlesnake spread 
itself across his shoulders. He was the 
greatest of all wizards, and could change 
himself into any bird or beast at will, 
could disguise his voice, and did both 
good and evil as he felt inclined. 

He lived with his grandmother, who 
had been thrown from the moon by a 
jealous rival. Their lodge was on the 
edge of the prairie not far from the Big 
Sea Water. 

He himself did not know his power 
until one day while playing with a beau- 
tiful snake, whose colors were brighter 
than any of those upon his head, he 
found that by means of it he could do 
He had caught the snake and 






170 American Ijs^diai^ Tales 

kept it in a bowl of water, feeding it 
every day on birds and insects. By 
cliance lie let fall some seeds, which were 
turned into birds as they touched the 
water, and the snake greedily devoured 
them. Then he discovered that every- 
thing he put into the water became alive. 

He went to the swamp where he had 
caught the snake, for others, which he 
put into the bowl. Happening to rub 
his eyes while his fingers were still wet 
he was surprised to find how much clearer i 

things at a distance appeared. I 

He gathered some roots, powdered |., 

them, and put them" into the water. | 

Then he took a little of the water into 
his mouth and blew it out in spray which _ 

made a bright light. When he put the fl 

water on his eyes he could see in the Ij^ 

dark. By bathing his body with it he ^ " 

could pass through narrow or slippery 
places. A feather dipped into it would 
shoot any bird at which it was aimed, 
and would enter its body like an arrow. 

He was able to heal wounds and sick- 
nesses and to conquer all his enemies, 
but for all this he was a bad spirit nearly 
all his life. 

His father, the West-wind, had in- 
trusted Tangled Hair's brothers with the 

The Great Wizard 



care of three-fourths of the earth, the 
north, the south, and the east ; but gave 
nothing to him, the youngest. When he 
was old enough to know how he had 
been slighted, he was very angry and 
sought to fight his father. 

He took his bearskin mittens and 
dipped them into the snake- water, thereby 
making them strong with magic, so that he 
could break off great boulders by merely 
striking them . He chased his father across 
the mountains, hurling boulder after 
boulder at him until he drove him to the 
very edge of the earth. He would have 
killed the West- wind if he had dared, but 
he was afraid of his brothers, who were 
friendly to one another, and he knew that 
he could not stand against the three. 
So he compelled his father to give him 
power over serpents, beasts and monsters 
of all kinds, and to promise him a place 
in his own kingdom after he should have 
rid the earth of them. 

Having thus secured his share, he re- 
turned to his lodge, where he was sick for 
a long time from the wounds that he had 

One of his first adventures after he had 
recovered was capturing a great fish, from 
which he took so much oil, that when he 









172 Ameeican Indian Tales 

poured it into a hollow in the woods, it 
formed a small lake, to which he invited 
all the animals for a feast. 

As fast as they arrived he told them to 
jump in and drink. The bear went in 
first, followed by the deer and the oppos- 
sum. The moose and the buffalo were 
late and did not get as much as the 
others. The partridge looked on until 
nearly all the oil was gone, while the hare 
and the marten were so long in coming, 
that they did not get any. That is why 
animals differ so much in fatness. 

"When they had done feasting, Tangled 
Hair took up his drum, beat upon it, and 
invited his guests to dance. He told them 
to pass round him in a circle, keeping 
their eyes shut all the time. 

When he saw a fat fowl pass by him he 
wrung its neck, beating loudly on his 
drum to drown its cries, and the noise of 
its fluttering. After killing each one, he 
would call out, "That's the way, my 
brothers, thafs the way! " 

At last a small duck, being suspicious 
of him, opened one eye, and seeing what 
he was doing, called as loudly as she 
could, ' ' Tangled Hair is killing us, ' ' and 
jumped and flew towards the water. 

Tangled Hair followed her, and just as 






The Great Wizard 


she was getting into the water, gave her a 
kick which flattened her back, and 
straightened her legs out backward, so 
that she can no longer walk on land, and 
her tail-feathers are few to this day. 

The other birds took advantage of the 
confusion to fly away, and the animals 
ran off in all directions. 

After this Tangled Hair set out to 
travel, to see if there were any wizards 
greater than himself. He saw all the 
nations of red men, and was returning 
quite satisfied, when he met a great 
magician in the form of an old wolf, who 
was journeying with six young ones. 

As soon as the wolf saw him, he told the 
whelps to keep out of the way, for 
Tangled Hair's fame for cruelty and 
wickedness had been carried everywhere 
by the animals and birds he had tried to 

As the young wolves were running off, 
Tangled Hair said to them, ''My grand- 
children, where are you going? Stop and 
I will go with you." 

The old wolf was Watching him and 
came up in time to answer, '*We are 
going to a place where we can find most 
game, where we may pass the winter. ' ' 

Tangled Hair said he would like to go 









174 American Indian Tales 

with them and asked the old wolf to 
change him into a wolf. Now this was 
very foolish, for he thereby lost his 
power, whereas if he had changed himself 
into one he might still have kept it, but 
even the greatest wizard did not know 

The old wolf was only too glad to grant 
his wish, and changed him into a wolf like 
himself. Tangled Hair was not satisfied 
and asked to be made a little larger. 
The wolf made him larger; and as he 
was still dissatisfied, he made him twice 
as large as the others. 

Tangled Hair was better pleased, but he 
still thought he might be improved, so 
he said to the old wolf, ''Do, please 
make my tail a little larger and more 
bushy. ' ' 

The wolf did this, and Tangled Hair 
found a large tail very heavy to drag 
about with him. 

Presently they came to the bottom of a 
ravine up which they rushed into the 
thick woods where they discovered the 
track of a moose. The young wolves fol- 
lowed it, while the old wolf and Tangled 
Hair walked on after them, taking their 

"Which do you think is the swiftest 


f^^ .T^'^''i:\ 



The Great Wizard 175 

runner among my wlielps ?" said the 


"Why the foremost one, that takes 
such long leaps," said Tangled Hair. 

The old wolf laughed sneeringly. 
''You are mistaken," he said, " he will 
soon tire out. The one who seems to be 
slowest will capture the game." 

Shortly afterward they reached a place 
where one of the young wolves had 
dropped a small bundle. 

" Pick it up," said the wolf to Tangled 
Hair. ^ ^ 

''No," replied he, "what do I want 
with a dirty dog-skin? " 

The wolf took it up and it was turned 
into a beautiful robe. 

"I will carry it now," said Tangled 


"Oh, no," said the wolf, ''I cannot 
trust you with a robe of pearls," and im- 
mediately the robe shone, for nothing 
could be seen but pearls. 

They had gone about six arrow-flights 
farther when they saw a broken tooth 
that one of the young wolves had dropped 
in biting at the moose as it passed. 

"Tangled Hair," said the wolf , ''one 
of the children has shot at the game, pick 
up his arrow." 

"to ^B ^"titfr^ 

176 Ameeican Indian Tales 

''No," lie replied, ''what do I want 
witli a dirty dog's tooth? " 

The old wolf took it up, and it be- 
came a beautiful silver arrow. 

They found that the young wolves had 
killed a very fat moose. Tangled Hair 
was hungry, but the wolf charmed him so 
that he saw nothing but the bones picked 
bare. After a time the wolf gave him a 
heap of fresh ruddy meat cut, so it seemed 
to Tangled Hair, from the skeleton. 

" How firm it is ! " he exclaimed. 

"Yes," answered the wolf, "oz^rgame 
always is. It is not a long tail that makes 
the best hunter. ' ' 

Tangled Hair was a good hunter when 
he was not too lazy to undertake the 
chase. One day he went out and killed 
a large fat moose, but having lived well 
in the wolf's lodge he was not very hun- 
gry, and so turned the carcass from side 
to side, uncertain where to begin. He 
had learned to dread the ridicule of the 
wolves, who were always showing him 
how little he knew as a wolf, yet he could 
not change himself into a man again. 

"If I begin at the head," he said, 
"they will say I ate it backwards. If I 
cut the side first, they will say I ate it 
sideways." He turned it round so that 




The Great Wizard 

the liindquarter was in front of him. 
'^f I begin here, they will say I ate it 
forwards." But he began to be hungry, 
so he said, " I will begin here, let them 
say what they will." 

He cut a piece off the flank and was 
just about to put it into his mouth when 
he heard the branches of a large tree 
creaking. " Stop, stop," he said to the 
tree, for the sound annoyed him. The 
tree paid no attention to him, so he threw 
down his meat, exclaiming, '' I cannot eat 
with such a noise about ! ' ' 

He climbed the tree and was pulling at 
the branch which by rubbing against an- 
other had caused the creaking, when it 
was suddenly blown towards him and his 
paw was caught so that he could not get 
it out. Pretty soon a pack of wolves 
came along and he called out to them, 
'' Go away, go away ! " 

The chief of the wolves knew Tangled 
Hair's voice and said to the others, ''Let 
us go on, for I am sure he has something 
there he does not want us to see." 

They found the moose and began eating 
it. Tangled Hair could not get to them, 
so they linished the animal, leaving noth- 
ing but the bones. After they had gone 
a storm arose which blew the branches of 

178 American Indian Tales 

the trees apart, and Tangled Hair was 
able to get out, but lie had to go home 

The next day the old wolf said to him, 
" My brother, I am going to leave you, 
for we cannot live together always." 

*' Let me have one of your children for 
my grandson," said Tangled Hair. 

The old wolf left the one who was the 
best hunter, and also the lodge. 

Tangled Hair was disenchanted after 
the wolves had gone, and when he as- 
sumed his natural shape, his power as a 
wizard came back. He was very fond 
of his grandson and took good care of 
him, giving much thought night and day 
to his welfare. One day he said to him, 
''My grandson, I dreamed of you last 
night, and I feel that trouble will come 
to you unless you will heed what I say. 
You must not cross the lake that lies in 
the thick woods. No matter what may 
the need or how tired you may be, go 
around it, even though the ice looks 
strong and safe." 

In the early spring when the ice was 
breaking up on the lakes and rivers, the 
little wolf came to the edge of the water 
late in the evening. He was tired and it 
was such a long way round. He stood 




The Great Wizard 179 

and thought to himself, ^'My grand- 
father is too cautious about this lake, ' ' 
and he tried the ice with his foot, press- 
ing his weight upon it. It seemed strong 
to him, so he ventured to cross. He had 
not gone half way, however, when it 
broke and he fell in, and was seized by 
the serpents whose lodge was under the 

Tangled Hair guessed what had hap- 
pened to him when night came and again 
the day and he did not return. He 
mourned many days first in his lodge, 
and then by a small brook that ran into 
the lake. 

A bird that had been watching him said, 
** What are you doing here? " 

*' Nothing," said Tangled Hair, *'but 
can you tell me who lives in this lake? " 

*' Yes," said the bird, *'the Prince of 
Serpents lives here, and I am set by him 
to watch for the body of Tangled Hair's 
grandson, whom they killed three moons 
since. You are Tangled Hair, are you 

"No," was the answer, "Why do you 
think he would wish to come here? Tell 
me about these serpents." 

The bird pointed to a beautiful beach 
of white sand where he said the serpents 

"j^'-^V^" '^ 



American Indian Tales 

came just after mid- day to bask in the 
sun. ''You may know when they are 
coming," said he, ''because all the rip- 
ples will disappear and the water will be 
smooth and still before they rise. 

"Thank you," said Tangled Hair, "I 
am the wizard Tangled Hair. Do not 
fear me. Come and I will give you a re- 
ward. ' ' 

The bird went to him and Tangled 
Hair placed a white medal round his 
neck, which the Kingfisher wears to this 
day. While putting it on he tried to 
wring the bird's neck. He did this for 
fear it might go to the serpents and tell 
them he was watching for them. It es- 
caped him, however, with only the crown 
feathers ruffled. 

He went to the beach of white sand 
and changing himself into an oak stump 
waited for the serpents. Before long the 
water became smooth as the lake of oil 
he himself had once made. Soon hun- 
dreds of serpents came crawling up on 
the beach. The Prince was beautifully 
white, the others were red and yellow. 

The Prince spoke to the others and 
said, "I never saw that black stump 
there before ; it may be the wizard, Tan- 
gled Hair." 


^^ *3; 


The Great Wizard 



Then one of the largest serpents went 
to the stump and coiled itself round the 
top, pressing it very hard. The greatest 
pressure was on Tangled Hair's throat, 
and he was just ready to cry out when 
the serpent let go. Eight of the others 
did the same to him, but each let go just 
in time. They then coiled themselves up 
on the beach near their Prince, and after 
a long time fell asleep. 

Tangled Hair was watching them 
closely, and when he saw the last one 
breathing heavily in sleep, he took his 
bow and arrows and stepped cautiously 
about until he was near the Prince, whom 
he shot and wounded. 

The serpents were roused by his cry, 
and plunging into the water, they lashed 
the waves so that a great flood was raised 
and Tangled Hair was nearly drowned. 
He climbed into a tall tree, and when the 
water was up to his chin he looked about 
for some means of escape. He saw a 
loon and said to him, "Dive down, my 
brother, and bring up some earth so that 
I can make a new world." 

The bird obeyed him, but came up life- 
less. He next asked the muskrat to do 
him the service, and promised him if he 
succeeded, a chain of beautiful little lakes 

*Sf^. :0 

<Sf af'. 



'^7 . 

—MmsK^ _ 


182 Ameeican Indian Tales 

surrounded by rushes for his lodge in fu- 
ture. The muskrat dived down, but 
floated up senseless. Tangled Hair took 
the body and breathed into the nostrils, 
which restored the animal to life. It 
tried again and came up the second time 
senseless, but it had some earth in its 

Tangled Hair charmed the earth till it 
spread out into an island, and then into a 
new world. As he was walking upon it, 
he met an old woman, the mother of the 
Prince of Serpents, looking for herbs to 
cure her son. She had a pack of cedar 
cords on her back. In answer to his 
questions she said she intended it for a 
snare for Tangled Hair. 

Having found out all he wished. Tan- 
gled Hair killed her, took off her skin, 
wrapped it about him, and placing the 
cedar cord on his back, went to her lodge. 

There he saw the skin of his beloved 
grandson hanging in the doorway. This 
made him so angry that he could hardly 
keep up the disguise. He sat down out- 
side the door and began weaving a snare 
of the cedar cord, rocking himself to and 
fro and sobbing like an old woman. 
Some one called to him to make less noise 
and to come and attend to the Prince. 

The Great Wizard 183 

He put down the snare, and wiping his 
eyes, went in, singing the songs the old 
woman had told him would cure her son. 

No one suspected him, and he pre- 
tended to make ready to pull out the ar- 
row which he found was not deeply em- 
bedded in the Prince's side. Instead of 
pulling it out he gave it a sudden thrust 
and killed the Prince ; but he had used 
so much force that he burst the old 
woman's skin. The serpents hissed and 
he fled quickly from the place. 

He took refuge with the badger, and 
with its help he threw a wall of earth 
against the opening of their lodge so that 
no one could get at him. They had an- 
other opening behind the rock, through 
which they could bring in food so that 
they could not be starved out by the ser- 

Tangled Hair soon grew tired of living i 

under ground, so he started to go out, "M j j 
and, as the badger stood in his way, and ' ^ f I 
did not move quickly enough to please 
him, he kicked the poor animal and 
killed him. 

He then ran back towards the serpent's 
lodge, and finding the dead body of the 
Prince, which the serpents in their haste 
to follow him had left unburied, he put -^ ' | 


184 American Indian Tales 

the skin around him and went boldly up 
to the serpent tribe. They were so fright- 
ened that they fell into the lake and never 
again ventured forth. 

After many years of wickedness, Tan- 
gled Hair repented, and traveled to the 
end of the earth, where he built himself a 
lodge, and tried, by good deeds, to rid 
himself of remembrances. But even there 
he was a terror to men and beasts. 

Having shown, however, that he was 
really sorry for his misdeeds, his father, 
the West-wind gave him a part of his 
kingdom. He went to live beyond the 
Rocky mountains, and took the name of 
the North-west wind. 


^ ^'^'^'^3^ 








NCE upon a time, when 
there were no large 
cities in the western 
world, all the land being 
forest or prairie, five 
young men set out to 
hunt. They took mth 
them a boy named 
White Cloud. He was only ten years 
old, but he was a swift runner and his 
sight was keen, so there were many ways 
in which he was useful to them. 

They started before daylight, and had 
traveled a long way when, on reaching 
the top of a high hill, the sun suddenly 
burst forth. The air was free from mist, 
and there being but few trees or tall 
bushes near, the brightness dazzled them 
as it had never done before, and they ex- 
claimed, ''How near it is ! " 

Then one of them said, "Let us go to 
it," and they all agreed. They did not 
wish to take White Cloud with them, but 
he insisted upon going. When they con- 
tinued to refuse he threatened to teU 


188 Ameeican Indian Tales 

their parents and tlie Chief, who would 
surely prevent them from undertaking 
such a journey. Finally they consented, -^ 
and each went home to make prepara- 
tions. They shot some birds and a red 
deer on the way so as not to arouse the 
suspicions of their friends. 

Before they parted they agreed to get 
all the moccasins they could and a new 
suit of leather apiece, in case they should 
be gone a long time and might not be able 
to procure clothes. 

White Cloud had most difficulty in 
getting these things, but after coaxing to 
no purpose, he burst out crying and said, 
'* Don't you see I am not dressed like my 
companions, they all have new leggings? " 
This plea was successful, and he was pro- 
vided with a new outfit. 

As the party went forth the next day 
they whispered mysteriously to one an- 
other, taking care that such phrases 
should be overheard as ''a grand hunt," 
and "we'll see who brings home most 
game." They did this to deceive their 

Upon reaching the spot from which 
they had seen the sun so near on the pre- 
vious day, they were surprised to find that 
it looked as far away as it did from their JJj 



Visit to the Sun-Pkijstce 189 

own village. They traveled day after day, 
but seemed to come no nearer. At last 
they encamped for a season and consulted 
with one another as to the direction in 
which they should go. White Cloud 
settled it by saying, *' There is the place 
of light (pointing towards the east), if we 
keep on we must reach it some time.'' 

So they journeyed toward the east. 
They crossed the prairie and entered a 
deep forest, where it was dark in the mid- 
dle of the day. There the Prince of the 
rattlesnakes had his warriors gathered 
round him, but the eldest of the party 
wore a "medicine " of snake-skin, so he 
and his companions were allowed to go 
through the woods unharmed. 

They went on day after day and night 
after night through forests that seemed 
to have no end. When the Morning Star 
painted her face, and when the beautiful 
red glowed in the west, when the Storm- 
fool gathered his harvest, when the south 
wind blew silver from the dandelion, they 
kept on, but came no nearer to their ob- 

Once they rested a long time to make 
snowshoes and more arrows. They built 
a lodge and hunted daily until they had 
a good store of dried meat, as much as 


190 American Indian Tales 

they could carry, and again they went 
on their way. 

After many moons they reached a river 
that was running swiftly towards the 
east. They kept close to it until it 
flowed between high hills. One of these 
they climbed and caught sight of some- 
thing white between the trees. They 
hurried on and rested but little that 
night, for they thought surely the white 
line must be the path that leads to the 
splendid lodge of the sun. 

Next morning they came suddenly in 
view of a large lake. No land was on 
any side of it except where they stood. 
Some of them being thirsty, stooped to 
drink. As soon as they had tasted, they 
spat out the liquid, exclaiming, ''Salt 
water! " 

When the sun arose he seemed to lead 
forth out of the farthest waves. They 
looked with wonder, then they grew sad, 
for they were as far away as ever. 

After smoking together in council, they 
resolved not to go back, but to walk 
around the great lake. They started 
towards the north, but had only gone a 
short distance when they came to a broad 
river flowing between mountains. Here 
they stayed the night. While seated 

Visit TO the Sun-Prince 191 

round their lire, some one thought to ask 
whether any of them had dreamed of 

After a long silence the eldest said, * ' I 
dreamt last night that we had come 
wrong, that we should have gone towards 
the south. But a little way beyond the 
place where we encamped yesterday is a 
river. There we shall see an island not 
far out in the lake. It will come to us 
and we are to go upon it, for it will carry 
us to the lodge of the sun." 

The travelers were well pleased with 
the dream, and went back towards the 
south. A few hours' journey from their 
old camp brought them to a river. At first 
they saw no island, but as they walked 
they came to a rise of ground and the 
island appeared to them in the distance. 
As they looked, it seemed to approach. 

Some were frightened and wanted to 
go away, but the courage of White Cloud 
shamed them, and they waited to see what 
would happen. They saw three bare 
trees on the island, such as pine trees 
that have been robbed of their leaves by 
fire. As they looked, lo ! a canoe with 
wings that flapped like those of a loon 
when it flies low dow^n to the lake, left 
the island. 


192 Americaist Indian Tales 

It came swiftly over the water, and 
when it tonched the land, a man with a 
white face and a hat on, stepped upon the 
shore and spoke to them, but they could 
not understand what he said. He mo- 
tioned to them to mount the bird canoe, 
which they did, and were carried to the 

There was a horrible noise and rattle 
like that made by the magician when he 
conjures the evil spirit from a sick man, 
then white wings sprang from the bare 
tree trunks, and they felt themselves 
moving over the water, as the deer bounds 
across the trail in the forest. 

The night came and they saw the 
familiar stars above them, so they lay 
down to sleep, fearing nothing. 

When the day dawned, they could see 
no shore anywhere, only the water of the 
lake. The Pale-faces were kind, and 
gave them food and drink, and taught 
them words, such as they said to one 

One moon had passed and another had 
come and nearly gone, when the Pale-face 
Chief said they would soon find the 
shore, and he would take them to his 
Prince, who would direct them to their 
journey's end. 

Visit to the Sun-Prince 193 

The Prince lived in a beautiful lodge of 
white stone. The walls were of silver, 
hung with silver shields and arrows. His 
throne was of white horn carved with 
many figures. His robe was ermine, and 
he had many sparkling stones in his 

He talked to White Cloud and listened 
to the story of their wanderings, their 
dreams and their disappointments, and 
spoke gently, trying to persuade them to 
give up their purpose. ''See," said he, 
' ' here are hunting-grounds, and fat deer, 
and game and fish enough for you, and 
none shall make war or trouble you, why 
go farther? " 

But they would not stay. Whereupon, 
the Prince proved himself a magician, for 
he told them in what direction they should 
go, and what would befall them. At the 
last they would come to the wigwam of 
the great wizard. Tangled Hair. They 
would hear his dreadful rattle three days 
before they reached his lodge, and the 
wizard would do his best to destroy them. 

The Prince tried again to keep them, 
but as they would not stay, he gave them 
presents of food and clothing, and his 
warriors led them to the end of his 

194 Ameeican Indian Tales 

They went through many forests, but 
the trees were strange to them. They 
saw flowers springing in their path and 
vines upon the rocks and about the trees, 
but none were those they knew. Even the 
birds were strange, and talked in voices 
which they could not understand. But 
all this made them believe they were get- 
ting nearer to the Sun-Prince. 

After many moons the clothing which 
the Prince of the Pale-faces had given 
was worn out, so they put on their 
leather dresses again. Hardly had they 
done this, when they heard a fierce rattle 
and knew that they were near the wig- 
wam of the wizard. The noise was dread- 
ful and seemed to come from the centre 
of the earth. 

They had traveled far that day. The 
ground had been rough and stony and in 
many places covered with water through 
which they had been obliged to wade. 
They lighted a fire and sat down to dry 
their clothes and to rest. The noise of 
the rattle continued and increased so 
much that they broke up their camp and 
went toward the place which they knew 
must be Tangled Hair's lodge. 

It was not a wigwam, but a lodge with 
many fireplaces, and it had eyes which 


Visit to the Sun-Prince 195 

glared like their camp fire. Two of the 
travelers wished to go back or to try to 
get around the lodge, but White Cloud 
said, '' Let the wizard see we are no cow- 
ards. ' ' So they went up to the door. 

There they were met by Tangled Hair 
himself, who said, '' Welcome, my grand- 
sons ! " 

When they were seated in his lodge, he 
gave each some smoking mixture, and as 
they sat and smoked he said that he knew 
their history, and had seen them when 
they left their village. He took the 
trouble to do this so that they might be- 
lieve what he was about to say. 

^ ' I do not know that all of you will 
reach your journey's end, though you 
have gone three -fourth's of the way and 
are very near the edge of the earth. 
When you reach that place you will see 
a chasm below you and will be deafened 
by the noise of the sky descending upon 
the world. It keeps moving up and 
down. You must watch, and when it lifts 
you will see a little space. You must 
leap through this, fearing nothing, and 
you will find yourselves on a beautiful 

The wizard then told them who he was 
and that they had no need to fear him if 



Ameeicai^ Indian Tales 

they were brave men. He was not per- 
mitted to help weak men and cowards. 

When the first arrow of daylight came 
into the lodge, the young men started up 
and refused to rest longer, so Tangled 
Hair showed them the direction they 
were to take in going to the edge of the 
world. Before they left he pointed out a 
lodge in the shape of an egg standing 
upon its larger end and said, ' ' Ask for 
what you want and he who lives in that 
lodge will give it to you. ' ' 

The first two asked that they might 
live forever and never be in want. The 
third and fourth asked to live longer 
than many others and always to be suc- 
cessful in war. White Cloud spoke for 
his favorite companion and for himself. 
Their wish was to live as long as other 
braves and to have success in hunting 
that they might provide for their parents 
and relatives. 

The wizard smiled upon them and a 
voice from the pointed lodge said, *' Your, 
wishes shall be granted.'' 

They were anxious to be gone, more 
especially when they found that they Z^ 
had been in Tangled Hair's lodge not a y 
day, as they had supposed, but a year. / ^ 

''Stop," cried Tangled Hair, as they^^ 

««gVft» 1 



White Cloud and his friend at last gave a great leap." 



Visit to the Sun-Prince 197 

prepared to depart, '*yon who wished to 
live forever shall have that wish granted 
now. ' ' Thereupon he turned one of them 
into a cedar tree and the other into a 
gray rock. 

"Now," said he to the others, ''you 
may go." 

They went on their way trembling, and 
said to one another, ' ' We were fortunate 
to get away at all, for the Prince told us 
he was an evil spirit." 

They had not gone far when they heard 
the beating of the sky. As they went 
nearer and nearer to the edge it grew 
deafening, and strong gusts of wind blew 
them off their feet. When they reached 
the very edge everything was dark, fo; 
the sky had settled down, but it soon 
lifted and the sun passed but a short dis- 
tance above their heads. 

It was some time before they could 
get courage enough to jump through the 
space. White Cloud and his friend at 
last gave a great leap and landed on the 
plain of which they had been told. 

"Leap, leap quickly," called White 
Cloud to the others, "the sky is on its 
way down." 

They reached out timidly with their 
hands, but just then the sky came down 




198 American Indiatt Tales 


with terrific force and hnrled them into 
the chasm. There they found themselves 
changed into monstrous serpents which 
no man could kill, so their wish was 

Meanwhile, White Cloud and his com- 
panion found themselves in a beautiful 
country lighted by the moon. As they 
walked on all weariness left them and 
they felt as if they had vdngs. They saw 
a hill not far off and started to climb it, 
that they might look abroad over the 

When they reached it, a little old 
woman met them. She had a white face 
and white hair, but her eyes were soft 
and dark and bright in spite of her great 

She spoke kindly and told them that 
she was the Princess of the Moon, that 
they were now half way to the lodge of 
her brother, the Sun-prince. She led 
them up a steep hill which sloped on the 
other side directly to the lodge of the 

The Moon-princess introduced them to 
her brother, who wore a robe of a rich, 
golden color, and shining as if it had 
points of silver all over it. He took down 
from the wall a splendid pipe and a pouch 


^ t« 

Visit to the Sun-Prinoe 199 

of smoking mixture, which he handed to 

He put many questions to them about 
their country and their people, atid asked 
them why they had undertaken this 
journey. They told him all he wished to 
know, and in return asked him to favor 
their nation, to shine upon their corn and 
make it grow and to light their way in 
the forest. 

The Prince promised to do all these 
things, and was much pleased because 
they had asked for favors for their 
friends rather than for themselves. 

*'Come with me," he said, ''and I 
will show you much that you could not 
see elsewhere." 

Before starting he took down from his 
walls arrows tipped with silver and with 
gold, and placed them in a golden quiver. 
Then they set out on their journey 
through the sky. 

Their path lay across a broad plain 
covered with many brilliant flowers. 
These were half hidden many times by 
the long grass, the scent of which was as 
fragrant as the flowers it hid. They 
passed tall trees with wide spreading 
branches and thick foliage. The most 
luxuriant were on the banks of a river as 


200 American Indian Tales 

clear as crystal stone, or on the edge of 
little lakes wMcli in their stony trails 
looked like bowls of water set there for 
the use of a mighty giant. Tribes of 
water-fowl flew about, and birds of bright 
plumage darted through the forest like a 
shower of arrows. They saw some long, 
low lodges with cages filled with singing 
birds hanging on the walls, but the 
people were away. 

When they had traveled half across 
the sky, they came to a place where there 
were fine, soft mats, which the young 
men discovered were white clouds. 
There they sat down, and the Sun-prince 
began making preparations for dinner. 

At this place there was a hole in the 
sky, and they could look down upon the 
earth. They could see all its hills, 
plains, rivers, lakes and trees, and the 
big salt lake they had crossed. 

While they were looking at a tribe of 
Indians dancing, something bright flew 
past them, downwards through the hole 
in the sky and struck the merriest dancer 
of them all, a young boy, son of a great 

The warriors of his tribe ran to him 
and raised him with great cries and 
sounds of sorrow. A wizard spoke and 



Visit to the Sun-Prince 201 

told them to offer a white dog to the Sun- 

The animal was brought, and the mas- 
ter of the feast held the choicest portion 
above his head, saying: "We send this 
to thee, Great Spirit," and immediately 
the roasted animal was drawn upwards 
and passed through the sky. Then the 
boy recovered and went on dancing. 

After White Cloud and his companion 
had feasted with the Sun-prince, they 
walked on till they saw before them a 
long slope that was like a river of gold, 
flowing across silver sands. 

''Keep close to me," said the Sun- 
prince, " and have no fear. You will 
reach your home in safety." 

So they took hold of his belt, one on 
either side of him, and felt themselves 
lowered as if by ropes. Then they fell 

When they awoke they found them- 
selves in their own country, and their 
friends and relatives were standing near 
them, rejoicing over their return. They 
related all their adventures, and lived 
many years in honor and in plenty, the 
Sun-prince smiling upon them in all their 

f ,